Canadian Underwriter

More than half of all properties in New Orleans removed from special flood hazard areas

April 12, 2016   by Canadian Underwriter

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Due to significant improvements in drainage and flood protection, more than 53% of all properties in New Orleans were removed from special flood hazard areas and, as a result, will benefit from more affordable flood insurance, the mayor of the city said on Friday.

iStock_000030616576_MediumMayor Mitchell Landrieu joined U.S. Representative Cedric Richmond and members of the New Orleans city council to highlight the benefits of the recently released Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) final flood maps for New Orleans, Landrieu said in a statement. Under the new flood maps, many homeowners will be eligible for a “significantly lower flood insurance rate,” with Landrieu saying that the finalized maps could potentially save “hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

As of September 2015, the average flood insurance policy was US$961 and the new FEMA flood maps will affect approximately 85,000 policies in New Orleans, the statement said. “The cost of flood insurance in non-hazard areas is cheaper than in areas with a higher statistical risk of flooding,” the statement said, noting that the city “strongly encourages” all residents to have flood insurance, even if it is not required by their lender. “Any changes to homeowners’ and business owners’ insurance premiums would be made through their insurance companies.”

The City’s Department of Safety and Permits has worked with FEMA to enhance development regulations that will ensure maximum protection for people and property and will ultimately reduce premiums by an additional 5% citywide, the statement reported.

After the adoption of the flood maps by the city council, homeowners will be required to build homes either three feet above the curb height or one foot above the flood elevation as determined by the maps, whichever is higher. The new elevation requirements will only affect new construction and substantial improvements permitted after the proposed effective date of June 1, 2016.

“The new FEMA maps appear to incorporate accurate data and reflect substantial post-Katrina improvements to our levees, canals, and pumping stations,” said District D council member Jared Brossett in the statement. “When finalized, these maps will likely lower the flood insurance premiums for thousands of homeowners and businesses.”

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