Flood Damage >> Flood Zone

Questions about the Biggert-Waters Flood zone Insurance Reform Act of 2012 1. What is the Biggert-Waters Flood zone Insurance Reform Act of 2012? Answer: The Biggert-Waters Flood Zone Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) is a law passed by Congress and signed by the President in 2012 that extends the National Flood zone Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years, while requiring significant program reform. 

The law requires changes to all major components of the program, including flood zone insurance, flood zone hazard mapping, grants, Flood Zone and the management of flood zones. Many of the changes are designed to make the NFIP more financially stable, and ensure that flood zone insurance rates more accurately reflect the real risk of flood zone. 

The changes will be phased in over time, beginning this year. 2. Why was the Biggert-Waters Reform Act of 2012 passed? Answer: Flood Zone has been, and continues to be, a serious risk in the United States —so serious that most insurance companies have specifically excluded flood zone damage from homeowners insurance. 

To address the need, in 1968 the U.S. Congress established the NFIP as a Federal program. It enabled property owners in participating communities to purchase flood zone insurance if the community adopted flood zone management ordinances Flood Zone and minimum standards for new construction. However, owners of existing homes and businesses did not have to rebuild to the higher standards, and many received subsidized rates that did not reflect their true risk. 

Over the years, the costs and consequences of Flood Zone have continued to increase. For the NFIP to remain sustainable, its premium structure must reflect the true risks and costs of flood zone. This is a primary driver for many of the changes required under the law. Insurance Cost/Rate Questions 3. What changes to insurance operations are anticipated? Answer: Many of the proposed changes are designed to increase the fiscal soundness of the NFIP. 

For example, beginning this year there will be changes addressing rate subsidies and a new Reserve Fund charge will start being assessed. There are also provisions to adjust premium rates to more accurately reflect Flood Zone risk. Other provisions of the law address coverage modifications and claims handling. 

Studies will be conducted to address issues of affordability, privatization, and reinsurance, Flood Zone among other topics. 4. Will all policyholders see changes in insurance rates as a result of BW-12? More than 80 percent of policyholders (representing approximately 4.48 million of the 5.6 million policies in force) do not pay subsidized rates. 

About 20 percent of all NFIP policies pay subsidized rates. Only a portion of those policies that are currently paying subsidized premiums will see larger premium increases of 25% annually starting this year, Flood Zone until their premiums are full-risk premiums. Five percent of policyholders – those with subsidized policies for non-primary residences, businesses, and severe repetitive loss properties - will see the 25% annual increases immediately. . 

Subsidies will no longer be offered for policies covering newly purchased properties, lapsed policies, Flood Zone or new policies covering properties for the first time. The 80% of all NFIP policies that already pay full-risk premiums will not see these large premium increases. Most policyholders will see a new charge on their premiums to cover the Reserve Fund assessment that is mandated by BW-12. 

Initially, there will be a 5% assessment to all policies except Preferred Risk Policies (PRPs). The Reserve Fund will increase over time and will also be assessed on PRPs at some undetermined future date. Additional changes to premium rates will occur upon remapping, Flood Zone the provision calling for these premium rate changes will not be implemented until the latter half of 2014. 

5. In general, which properties will be most affected by changes in rates? Answer: Rate changes will have the greatest effect on properties located within a Special Flood zone Hazard Area (SFHA) that were constructed before a community adopted its first Flood Zone Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) and have not been elevated. 

For many communities the initial FIRM would have been adopted in the 1970's and 1980's. Your local insurance agent will be able to provide you the initial FIRM date for your community. Many of these pre-FIRM properties have been receiving subsidized Flood Zone rates. Subsidies are already being phased out for non-primary residences. 

Starting this fall, subsidies will be phased out for businesses; properties of one to four residences that have experienced severe repetitive loss; and properties that have incurred Flood Zone -related damages where claims payments exceed the fair market value of the property. Premiums for these properties will increase by 25% per year until they reach the full risk rate. 

Subsidies are not being phased out for existing policies covering primary residences. However, Flood Zone the subsidy provided to primary residences could still be lost under conditions that apply to all subsidized policies. Subsidies will be immediately phased out for all new and lapsed policies and upon sale of the property. There may also be premium changes for policyholders after their community is remapped. But that provision of the Act is still under review and will be implemented in the future.

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