FEMA offered Ocean County municipalities the option to adopt preliminary flood maps now or wait for the final draft of the FIRM Flood Maps in 2022.
George Kasimos contacted Mayor Robert Sabosik for a comment on the preliminary map adoption which would have added over 658 homes into the flood zone. Increasing the amount of homes required to purchase flood insurance by 25%. Also increasing premiums for existing residents by enforcing higher elevations.
Mayor Sabosik stated Point Pleasant will not be adopting the 2015 Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map for Ocean County.
Point Pleasant will be waiting for the NYC Flood Map Appeal to be completed and a draft of FIRM Maps to see how it will affect the residents of Toms River. Appropriate action will be taken afterwards.
Mayor Sabosik stated he expected flood premiums and BFE’s (Base Flood Elevations) to be lowered once the protection of the Dune System is take into account with the final FIRM Maps in 2023.
Second Congress has scarcely funded a plan to prevent future flooding. Since the 1970’s Congress basically throws money at flooded communities to rebuild and does not aggressively try to stop future flooding. Some of the communities flood regularly. This vicious cycle of Repetitive Loss and Severe Repetitive Loss properties accounts for billions in needles spending and rebuilding.
An example is of a home in Humble, Texas that is worth $116,000 and has received over $2,000,000 in flood claims from repetitive flooding. (See pics below for this and additional examples). This is unfair for the property owner and the financial burden put on the NFIP program. Properties like this make all NFIP policies cost significantly more. Less than 1% of these properties accounts for over 12 Billion Dollars in claims.
We need to take a good portion of the next Trillion dollars, we will be spending for flood damage, and proactively spend it on elevating homes, buyouts and community mitigation projects for homes to get out of harms way. Imagine government spending funds that will result in a 600% rate of return. Wall street would be in envy of the our governments return.
We also need to lower the amount the Federal government pays when there are floods. Currently the federal government pays for 75% of recovery costs. This should get lowered to 50%. It will encourage local communities to build smarter in the future. It will also tighten new building standards which will stop pushing flood waters to downstream communities. One of the alarming trends we have seen is inland flooding from over development and lack of flood plain management.
Another issue that should be addressed is the 40% of homes that are situated in a SFHA flood zone, they have a federally backed mortgage and are required to purchase flood insurance, that do not carry flood insurance. The fines have been increased to $3,000 per incident for banks not complying with this mandate. The Federal government must make the banks comply or fine them. Also the federal government should encourage insurance companies to “find” these properties and “force place” flood insurance on these properties.
The FEMA/NFIP needs to encourage the CRS (Community Rating System)program to be adopted to more communities. Enforcement of violations, like here in Charleston, must be enforced. When homeowners are forced to pay more in flood insurance premiums because their zoning rules and enforcement encourage future flooding, they will pressure their locally elected officials to tighten their standards. FEMA and the NFIP are not aggressively enforcing violations of the CRS program. On many occasions Senators and Congressmen pressure the FEMA/NFIP to relax CRS standards. Whatever the cause. We need aggressive enforcement of the CRS program, otherwise it does not encourage less flooding.
Lastly 80% of all homes that flood, and receive federal aid, do not carry flood insurance. This encourages homeowners to not carry flood insurance if the federal government is just going to pay for the repairs. There should be an “Opt-Out” flood insurance waiver that should be signed on a homeowners policy. The “Opt-Out” form should state “By opting out of purchasing flood insurance you will not be entitled to Federal Disaster Aid in the future.
By undertaking these measures we can rely less on the federal government and more on ourselves.
FEMA’s Flood Maps in most cases are several years if not decades old. By law they required to be updated every 5 years.
The NFIP calculates risk, flood insurance premiums and building requirements on these flood maps.
Trying to predict future storms and flooding is a difficult endeavor. But trying to predict future flooding from decades old maps is a recipe for massive mistakes.
We can see the mistakes by; seeing the large amount of SRL (Severe Repetitive Loss) properties, RL (Repetitive Loss) properties and the fact that 70-80% of homes that flood are not situated in a 1 in 100 year flood plain (SFHA – Special Flood Hazard Area).
We can see the mistakes because the NFIP is 24 Billion dollars in the red.
We can complain, but what are the solutions?
Congress must immediately fund the remapping of the whole country. And continue the funding for future mapping to comply with FEMA rules of updating the Flood Maps every 5 years.
If our premiums are based on outdated maps, then our premiums will be outdated.
To further prove our point, Houston had 3 quantity 1 in 500 year storms…. three years in a row. It doesn’t matter if the flooding is coming from sea level rise, rain events, overbuilding, lack of flood plain management or a combination of all of them. The NFIP policyholders, by paying higher premiums, and the U.S. government eventually bail out homeowners who are not in the flood plain.
BERKELEY: Mayor Amato has good news for the nearly 2,700 homeowners who have flood insurance policies in Berkeley Township. Your flood insurance premiums are coming down another 5% bringing the total discount to 25%
“We are extremely proud of our ongoing efforts to improve our (CRS) rating to bring additional relief to our flood insurance policy holders. This is the second time we have improved our rating over the last 8 years.” Mayor Amato said.
Berkeley Township participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Rating System (CRS).
The Community Rating System is a voluntary incentive program that recognizes and encourages Communities To engage in proactive floodplain management activities that exceed the minimum NFIP requirements.
As a result, flood insurance premium rates are discounted to reflect the reduced flood risk resulting from the community actions in meeting the goals of the Community Rating System.
Mayor Amato said “Berkeley’s Community Rating under the National Flood Insurance Program in Berkeley Township will improve to a class 5 rating. A class 5 rating will increase the discount another 5% bringing the total discount to 25% in flood premiums come May 1st, 2020. This is the second reduction my administration has earned.” Mayor Amato said.
Mayor Amato said “I want to thank Remington & Vernick Engineers our Certified Floodplain Managers for assisting the Township during this process along with the Township Council, who have been very supportive in adopting and revising Ordinances to comply with the (NFIP).
“This discount for our flood policy holders couldn’t come at a better time, as Congress is still grappling with the Reauthorization of the (NFIP). Mayor Amato said.
The mayor said the average Berkeley Township flood policy holders total discount, will now average $189. Overall, the nearly 2,700 policy holders will receive nearly $500,000 discount.
“I encourage all flood policy holders to contact their insurance broker to let them know of this change, so they can get benefit with a reduction in flood premiums. Mayor Amato said.
FEMA offered Ocean County municipalities the option to adopt preliminary flood maps now or wait for a draft of the FIRM Maps in 2022.
George Kasimos spoke to Mayor “Mo” Hill for a comment on the preliminary map adoption which would have added over 600 homes into the flood zone.
Mayor Hill stated Toms River will not be adopting the 2015 Preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Map for Ocean County.
Toms River will be waiting for the NYC Flood Map appeal to be completed and a draft of FIRM Maps to see how it will affect the residents of Toms River. Appropriate action will be taken afterwards.
Mayor Hill, who attended the Army Corp of Engineers Mitigation Meeting last year, stated he expected flood premiums to be lowered once the protection of the Dune System is take into account with the draft of the FIRM Maps.
Note: Toms River was the most severely impacted city in NJ with 2.4 Billion dollars in lost ratables as a result of Superstorm SANDY.