Possible changes to the FEMA flood insurance program could make it impossible for some Louisianans to ever sell their homes! That's what a group of local leaders fear, and they're in Washington, DC to try and talk the agency out of it.
New flood insurance rate maps are putting some parts of coastal Louisiana that are outside of Army Corps of Engineers protection in the flood zone. Michael Hecht of GNO Inc. says FEMA is ignoring locally-built flood mitigation structures.
"So what's happening is that all of the money that's been invested in things to make areas safer from floods, like ancillary levees, like pumps, are not being considered at all, which we just don't think is actuarially accurate," said Hecht. "We think that the rates should reflect the real risk and the real potential for flooding."
Hecht says they are also concerned about FEMA ending "grandfathering" -- meaning homeowners who have kept the flood policies current could face huge increases in premiums.
"The lack of grandfathering is very concerning for us, because why should individuals that have played by all the rules and paid their taxes and built everything to code be punished?" he asks.
"It would mean that homes that previously had flood insurance that was hundreds of dollars could see that go to tens of thousands of dollars, effectively making the home uninsurable, and so this would have the effect of taking the home out of the owner's balance sheet, taking it off the market," said Hecht.