Flood Insurance Premium Surge

By: mike.mcknight@wowt.com Email
By: mike.mcknight@wowt.com Email

In Blair "fears of flooding" are costing some homeowners a pretty penny. The homeowner's aren't concerned about the potential of flooding. FEMA is and has raised the risk level on a creek longtime residents can't ever remember flooding.

Cutting through Blair what's called south creek but official unnamed, the stream seems more tranquil than treacherous.
The Jones has lived along it for years. Steve Jones says, " I’ve seen streets around town flood but the creek didn't go over its banks."

Steve's 23 year old son Doug bought a house he could afford until last week when the flood insurance renewal hit like a financial title wave. Doug’s flood insurance premium jumped from about $590 annually to $5,500 a year. Doug Jones the young homeowner says, "Where am I going to come up with that kind of money because it’s not something I just carry around."

About a year ago Doug paid $50,000 for this house but with the change in the flood insurance policy, if he stayed here for the full life of the mortgage, he would pay $350,000.

Blair city officials say about 40 homes could be affected.
Asst. City administrator Phil Green says, " The thing that bothers me the most is these structures built under the old rules aren't grand fathered in somehow. Now they're being penalized simply because their studies have changed."

FEMA raised the flood risk level so Doug’s house went from just above it to nine feet below, causing the insurance premium surge.
Doug Jones says, "Is outrageous. It's definitely a bigger price that what I think I should be paying."

Now Doug is worried that a flood insurance increase from $50 to almost $500 a month will put him under water on his house payment.\

A FEMA spokesperson tells fact finders flood elevation changes in that area will be reviewed. FEMA says the issue isn't just an increase in the flood level projection by nine feet. Also a Congressional Act removed subsidized flood insurance on structures built years ago before flood maps. So FEMA says only homes purchased in the last couple of years should see a major jump in premiums. But the Jones say what if any homeowner along the creek wants to sell or refinance? The higher rates will come into play for those homeowners.

The Joneses have started face book page and twitter account called -- stop fema now Nebraska.


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