Flood insurance reform subject of May 16 public meeting

by Pat Bradford
Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The town of Wrightsville Beach will hold a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, May 16 at 6 p.m. regarding changes in flood insurance as a result of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, named after its champions, congresswomen Judy Biggert, (R) Illinois, and Maxine Waters, (D) California. The legislation is known as BW-12.

As noted in an overview of the act by N.C. Sea Grant’s coastal expert, Spencer Rogers, the BW-12 Act removes two longstanding “grandfather” clauses that are likely to be very expensive for property owners in, or even near, the respective 100-year floodplain shown on flood maps.

The legislation for this rate change came when the Surface Transportation Bill (H.R. 4348) was signed into law by President Obama last year. This bill re-authorized and reformed the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with significant changes through Sept. 30, 2017, which will increase the cost of insurance to offset the high losses incurred by the program. These losses are primarily ascribed to Hurricane Katrina. 

BW-12 requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to take immediate steps to eliminate a variety of existing flood insurance subsidies and calls for a number of other changes. 

Rates on almost all buildings that are, or will be, in Special Flood Hazard Areas will be revised over time to reflect full flood risks as opposed to subsidized rates. –Pat Bradford

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