Efforts to delay devastating rate increases continue

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wwltv.com

Posted on October 7, 2013 at 10:25 PM

Updated Monday, Oct 7 at 10:41 PM

Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
Email: bcapo@wwltv.com | Twitter: @billcapo

NEW ORLEANS -- Even as Tropical Storm Karen threatened possible flooding on Friday, a conference call was underway in the Terrebonne Parish president's office on delaying huge flood insurance rate hikes.

"Some of us we hear could be up into the $10,000 and $20,000 range,” said Terrebonne Parish President Michel Claudet.

The Biggert Waters Reform Act required the flood insurance program to become financially stable, resulting in major premium increases for many property owners.

But now those leading the fight in Louisiana say they're no longer alone.

"Believe it or not, 30 out of 50 states are now showing their, basically, support for changes in Biggert Waters,” Claudet said.

Michael Hecht of GNO, Inc. said, "When you have senators from Nevada and North Dakota testifying as to the problem this is going to create in their own state, this has gone national. It's no longer just New Orleans or Louisiana."

But now the focus is on finding solutions to the rate increase problem – solutions that would allow owners to be able to afford to keep their homes.

"If they play by the rules and maintain their insurance to keep their current levels,” Hecht said. “It's critical that if they do everything right, you don't see your insurance skyrocket 3000 percent."

And where there is flooding, a potential solution would keep rate hikes manageable by tying them into the value of the property.

"It could be that after you flood, your rates then go up 1 percent of your value, then if you flood a second time, it could go up 2 percent,” Hecht said.

"I think that the way it's proceeding, I think we're definitely going to be able to make some changes,” Claudet said.

Hecht said accurate maps showing steps taken to reduce flooding, including levees, are critical to reducing the flood insurance rate hikes.

 

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