By: Bill Sisson, Wrightsville Beach Mayor Pro-Tem
The Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 was supposed to keep the Federal Flood Insurance Program from going under. Instead, it set the law of unintended consequences into motion.
The rate increases in the law affect anyone living in a 100 year flood plain. It doesn't matter whether the property is on the coast or lies near a lake, river or creek. Starting last month, flood insurance rates for businesses, second homes and government buildings were set to increase by 25% every year until they reach replacement-value premiums.
In January, 2014, primary residences built after 1974 will see their rates increase by 20% per year until they reach the replacement-value level. The actual amount the rates increase will depend on the flood zone designation and how far below the 16 foot flood elevation standard the livable space in the home is.
If you have a mortgage and live in a flood plain you have to carry flood insurance. The new rates could force some homes into foreclosure. Property values and resale values will drop. Construction costs will rise.
We must tell our congressmen and senators to take two actions. First delay the implementation of this law until FEMA can assess its negative economic impacts. Second, based on this analysis, change the law to avoid damaging our economy and peoples' lives.