18 Oct FEMA Updates Flood Maps & Requirements
New NOLA Flood Maps Change Requirements, Not Recommendations
As you may or may not know, on September 30, 2016, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s new flood maps went into effect in New Orleans. These maps contain geographic areas for which FEMA has defined the flood risk levels. The new maps are the product of 3 years of work and countless negotiations between the city and FEMA. The maps impact more than half of the properties in New Orleans. The changes to the flood zones are a direct result of the changes made to the levee & drainage system which, according to the Army Corps of Engineers, will now withstand a 500-year storm event.
What has Changed?
The answer is complicated. In a lot of ways things have really changed while in others, nothing has changed at all. On the new maps, 53% of all properties in the New Orleans area have been removed from “Special Flood Hazard A Zones” and are now classified as “Non-Hazard X Zones.” The premiums for these properties are expected to decrease. For instance, a $250,000 flood insurance policy will have its premium reduced by roughly $500. In some cases, the requirement for flood insurance may disappear.
The Mayor’s Office cautioned residents against taking advantage of this. City Hall’s Safety and Permits Director Jared Munster said, “While you may not be required to have it, please, please have flood insurance.” In the case of a catastrophic natural event, the premium payment would feel small compared to the benefit.
Instead, residents are encouraged to consult the maps and speak with their insurance brokers. If you believe your property is among those re-zoned it is important to find out how this might impact your insurance payments going forward. Conversely, approximately 3% of properties have been rezoned as higher risk flood areas and could have to deal with higher premium payments. In either case, it is important to talk with your insurance broker to find out how the changes will affect you.
Where to get Flood Insurance
If you do not currently have flood insurance or are unhappy with your current policy, contact AWS Insurance and let our experts help you. AWS understands that life is full of curveballs and we specialize in preparing people to deal with them. Call us at 1-800-375-5563 or visit us to see how we can help with your flood insurance in New Orleans and Metairie.
You can see the maps themselves here.