Residents get one-on-one with FEMA at Flood Map open house

Mar 29th, 2013 | By | Category: Top Story
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During the March 26 FEMA Open House residents were able to view the new Flood
Insurance Rate Maps and how their neighborhood’s flood zone has changed.
Photo by Jimmy Delery

In light of St. Bernard Parish’s new preliminary Flood Insurance Rate Maps (pre-FIRMs), FEMA held an Open House meeting on March 26 that allowed homeowners to get one-on-
one assistance with identifying their new flood risk from officials.

“I tried getting on there [Region 6 website] to look at the maps myself but I had no idea what I was looking at,” said Arabi resident Allen Schubert.

Schubert and his wife Elma live in the Carolyn Park area, and thanks in large part to the Hurricane Risk Reduction System, their flood zone continues to be AE, and their Base
Flood Elevations are slightly lower. While still in a “High Flood Risk” category, the Schuberts say the slight BFE decrease is good news, but they were hoping it would be lower.

“The estimate we got looks like we could save about $20 a month,” said Elma. “We were hoping that with a 30 foot wall around us we’d see a bigger savings, but at least it didn’t go up…we’ll take what we can get.”

Many other zones in the parish that were once designated AE are now designated X, which
means flood insurance is not required. However, FEMA and parish officials encourage residents, even in X zones, to safeguard themselves from potential loss. Those in B, C, and
X zones qualify for Preferred Risk Policies which range from $129 a year for $20,000 of building coverage and $8,000 of content coverage, to $412 per year for $250,000 of building coverage and $80,000 of contents coverage.

Although BFE increases within the levee protection system are slight, those outside of levee protection are looking at major elevation increases, ranging from 18 to 21 feet in some
areas. For those that must elevate or pay higher flood insurance rates, SBPG last week announced that they were awarded a $10 million hazard mitigation grant to help homeowners elevate to their new BFE. Just last week Parish’s Hazard Mitigation Office
started sending out letters and informational packets to property owners whose structures have been identified by FEMA as “repetitive loss” or “severe repetitive loss” structures, as
well as past property owners who have shown an interest in the program.

According to the NFIP, structures deemed as repetitive loss are those that have received two or more claim payments of more than $1,000 from the National Flood Insurance Program
within any rolling 10-year period. A property is defined as a severe repetitive loss property when it meets one of these conditions: Four or more separate flood claim payments have been made and each claim payment exceeds $5,000, or at least two flood claim payments have been made and the cumulative payments exceed the value of the property.

Documents related to the Parish Home Elevation program and applications have been posted on the Parish Government website under the HMGP Office link.

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