St. Charles Herald-Guide

FEMA deadline passes with no new flood rates

Kyle Barnett - June 6, 2013

After indicating they would release new flood insurance rates by June 1 to be applied to local homes under the Biggert-Waters Act, the Federal Emergency Management Agency has said the release of that information will now be delayed.

"The Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration anticipates that new rate guidelines for the private Write-Your-Own (WYO) insurance companies will be finalized in mid-June," FEMA spokesman Dan Watson said.

Watson said the release of the information has been pushed back to mid-June.

The rates will come into play as FEMA works towards implementation of a new flood map in the parish that, in its current form, would increase the base flood elevation for many areas of the parish and result in many homeowners paying much higher flood insurance premiums than they have in past years.

At a March 25 open house meeting, FEMA representatives quoted potential flood insurance rates in some cases that were nearly $30,000 a year. However, they would not release the data tables they used to calculate those rates.

Following that meeting, St. Charles Parish Coastal Zone Manager Earl Matherne asked that the rates be released as soon as possible.

"What we wanted was the rates from plus four to minus eight in one foot increments," he said.

Matherne said he requested that FEMA provide comprehensive data so that residents have a more accurate figure of what their flood insurance rates may be.

In cooperation with Congressman Cedric Richmondís Office, Matherne re-submitted his request to FEMA on May 31, but has not yet heard a response.

In other FEMA-related news, Congressman Bill Cassidy has proposed an amendment to the Homeland Security Appropriations Bill that would prevent funds from being used to implement the section of the Biggert-Waters Act that would disallow the grandfathering of flood insurance rates.

Sen. Mary Landrieu has also authored an amendment to the Farm Bill that would accelerate a flood insurance affordability study by FEMA and delay flood insurance rate increases on grandfathered rates.

FEMA deadline passes with no new flood rates