|San Jacinto News-Times - Local News
Copyright 2011 - Polk County Publishing Company
Low–cost policies offered to property owners
newly mapped in high-risk flood area
San Jacinto News- Times
COLDSPRING – As of Jan. 1, 2011, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) implements a fl ood insurance provision to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help reduce the fi nancial burden placed on property owners whose buildings are newly mapped into a high-risk fl ood area. The NFIP’s Preferred Risk Policy (PRP), offers low-cost fl ood insurance to owners and tenants of eligible residential and non-residential buildings located in moderate-to low-risk areas in San Jacinto County. About 100 county residents will fall into the new fl ood map and ordinance created for San Jacinto County by FEMA and released last November by commissioners’ court. Commissioners’ Court and San Jacinto County Emergency Management Coordinator Judy Eaton are hosting a public meeting with the National Flood Insurance Program and Texas Water Development board representatives on Feb. 3, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the commissioners’ courtroom, 1 State Highway 150, Coldspring to inform and assist the public with issues arising from changes to the county’s fl ood hazard maps. “The new fl ood hazard maps drawn as a result of FEMA’s recent Flood Insurance Study are the basis for the fl oodplain management measures that the county was required to either adopt or show evidence of having in effect in order to qualify or remain qualifi ed for participation in the National Flood Insurance Program,” said San Jacinto County Judge Fritz Faulkner. Flood hazard maps indicate whether properties are in areas of high, moderate or low fl ood risk. If the risk level for a property changed, so may the requirement to carry fl ood insurance. “To ensure that all residents and business owners understand the map change process and are aware of their options, the county invited representatives to come and explain the issues and explain the process which includes the steps to take (which include getting an Elevation Certifi cate) in order to try and remove your property from the fl ood plain if you feel that your property lies in an area that is not actually within the fl ood plain,” Faulkner said. Before 2003, more than 70 percent of the nation’s fl ood maps were at least 10 years old. Congress passed a law and appropriated funds in 2003 directing FEMA to create the fi veyear Flood Map Modernization program, which used more current data and the latest technology to update the maps. Consequently, many property owners are finding their buildings have been accurately mapped into higher risk areas. Aging flood control infrastructure, including levees, dams, and other structures, have also resulted in large numbers of properties being designated within SFHA’s (Special Flood Hazard Areas), where they are required by lenders to purchase flood insurance. While map changes are conducted to more accurately reflect a community’s flood risk, FEMA recognizes the financial hardship that the new designation may place on individuals in newly identified high risk flood zones and is therefore extending the eligible time period for low-cost PRP’s starting January 1, 2011. Although extended eligibility for the PRP does not become effective until January 1, 2011, insurance companies should already be contacting policyholders who may qualify for the extension. Agents are required to provide the insurance companies with documentation that shows the structure is eligible for the PRP extension, including current and prior flood map information. This information can be found on FEMA’s mapping website (http://misc.fema. gov) or through Judy Eaton, San Jacinto County floodplain administrator. “We are inviting all city and county residents and officials, insurance agents, real estate agents, lenders, builders, bank representatives and anyone who has questions and concerns regarding the updated flood maps,” Faulkner said.