NEW ORLEANS -- Some New Orleans-area residents could soon be facing a double whammy when it comes to their flood insurance premiums.
Not only did FEMA Director Craig Fugate recently announce that the program is changing and many premiums could increase, but new flood maps could put many in higher risk categories.
Jesuit Bend in Plaquemines Parish is a quiet community, full of families who are used to dealing with the threat of flooding.
“I'm originally from down in the Buras area, so I have evacuated my whole life,” said Karen Anglada.
Her Jesuit Bend home is raised, and for years her flood insurance has been affordable.
“My last year's premium was about $350,” Anglada said.
But Anglada and others in Plaquemines Parish are now facing a possible hike in their flood insurance premiums because of changes in the program. Plus, FEMA is in the process of re-drawing flood elevation maps.
“We're expecting our rates to skyrocket,” Anglada said.
The preliminary Flood Elevation Maps showed her property going from low- to high-risk for flooding.
“If you have that increased risk, you may see a higher premium. If have that lower risk, you may see a decrease in your premium,” said Matt DuBois, project monitor for FEMA’s flood map update.
In Plaquemines, those inside the Army Corps of Engineers’ new storm surge protection system could see a decrease and those outside could see an increase. But it all depends on each individual property. FEMA will soon open up a 90-day appeals period.
“An appeal would be to challenge our engineering analysis,” DuBois said.
And Anglada says the time it takes for flood insurance program changes and the maps to become finalized will be decision time for many in Plaquemines.
“You begin to wonder is it really worth it to carry the flood insurance or to would you do better to bank the money and take the gamble,” Anglada said.
The proposed changes to the flood elevation maps can be found here.