County residents could save 5% on flood insurance
The Morgan County Planning Commission heard about a plan that could save residents money on their flood insurance policies.
Matthew Pennington, Region 9 Chesapeake Bay Program Coordinator, talked to commissioners about a FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) program called the Community Rating System of the National Flood Insurance Program.
Pennington spoke at the Tuesday evening, February 28 commission meeting.
Under the program, communities are rated on their flood preparedness and storm water management practices. Points are assigned for various county practices in regard to flooding.
Some of the areas looked at are the county’s flood plan, storm water management, subdivision and building permitting ordinances and county practices such as buying back property in areas that habitually flood and encouraging property owners in the flood plain to buy insurance.
Pennington said that a pre-requisite for joining the program is a community assistance visit by a FEMA representative. During the visit the representative spends time with the county’s flood plain coordinator, talks about what the community is doing and makes suggestions for improvements.
The visit would have to take place six months before an application to the program is submitted.
The county would also have to implement a repetitive loss outreach program to identify properties that had multiple claims of flood loss in the last 10 years.
After the flood of 1996 there were 39 repetitive loss properties, Pennington said. Since the new addressing system was implemented by 911 services, the records need to be updated.
“The goal of the project is to identify these properties, update and resubmit the forms so that the properties are properly identified with their new addresses and then write them (the owners) letters stating that this is a high threat area, properties have been flooded multiple times, and it is in your best interest to carry flood insurance,” Pennington said.
There are currently 130 property owners with flood insurance policies in the county, he said.
Another requirement of the program is all county owned property must have flood insurance.
Once the FEMA visit has occurred and the repetitive flood claim properties are identified, an application is completed and submitted.
The Community Rating System assigns points for various community activities in regard to flooding and flood plain.
Everyone in the community will get an automatic 5% discount on their flood insurance if the community is awarded 500 points, 10% for 1,000 points and 15% for 1,500 points.
Pennington said it is best to start off trying to qualify for 500 points and work up from there. He volunteered to help County Planner Alma Gorse with the program and completing the application.
At some point the county commission would have to approve joining the program.