January 16

Bill offers flood premium reprieve for some Mainers

But homeowners holding flood insurance are pinning hopes on longer lasting rate relief in a Senate bill.

By Kevin Miller kmiller@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Katz-Leavy agreed that some property owners could get hit from both sides, however.

“Your (flood) risk has just gone up because of the revised maps and then your cost of insurance has just gone up because of the loss of the subsidy,” he said.

Foley said one client’s annual premium increased from $1,600 to $3,400 because of the loss of the subsidies. Properties most likely to be hit by the phased-out subsidies are second homes and homes built in Maine before 1983. The 2012 law also eliminated a “grandfathering” clause that allowed properties to keep their lower premiums even after being remapped into a higher-risk zone.

In many cases, homeowners must hire a licensed surveyor to document where the structure sits relative to the “base flood elevation,” and then issue an elevation certificate to the owner.

Foley said the entire flood insurance system needs restructuring because, under the present system, only properties at risk of flooding are insured. That creates a situation where payouts are exceeding income from premiums.

“I think we need to have a bigger discussion about flood insurance,” Foley said. “These (proposals) are more Band-Aid approaches to have the flood insurance program more sustainable, but I don’t see it happening.”

Kevin Miller can be contacted at 317-6256 or at:


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