Today, we received an update on the re-authorization of the NFIP from Assurant. Below is what they had to say.
Today, we received an update on the re-authorization of the NFIP from Assurant. Below is what they had to say.
With the recent flooding occurring all over the Lowcountry this weekend we would like to provide valuable information on filing a flood claim and understanding the process. To file a flood claim, be sure to have your flood policy in front of you as you will need a policy number to provide. If you cannot find your policy, please contact our office and we can assist you. We do recommend filing a flood claim directly but our staff is here to assist should you need it. Below are a few claim phone numbers as this is the easiest way to file a claim and get confirmation of the receipt. Please keep in mind your deductibles when considering filing a claim. Additionally, there is a separate deductible that applies for each the dwelling/building and your personal belongings. Personal belongings are valued on an “actual cash value” (ACV) basis which is the replacement cost less depreciation. Dwellings can be valued on either a replacement cost basis (RCV) or ACV basis depending on if it is a primary or non-primary dwelling.
Do what you can to mitigate the situation if you do have water damage. Put your belongings on higher levels or on countertops to prevent damage. Most importantly, be safe and keep your family safe. Your belongings can be replaced, your family cannot. Call us if you have any questions, 843-763-4200. If you do not have a flood policy and are interested in one, please complete the form by following this link – I want a flood policy or complete the form at the bottom of this article.
To learn more about flood claims handling, click here to download FEMA’s Flood Insurance Claims Handbook
Direct Claim Reporting Phone Numbers:
To learn more about the April 2015 changes, click here.
Examples of how a policy might be affected…
|Pre-Firm Policy||Pre April 2015||Post April 2015||Approx. % Change|
|Post-Firm Policy||Pre April 2015||Post April 2015||Approx. % Change|
Property buyers need to understand what it is they are buying and what their true risk could be down the road…
We are here to help.
As many people have probably heard, there are more flood insurance law changes that are set to begin April 1, 2015. While these changes are not as severe as the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, they are going to impact ALL flood insurance policyholders one way or another. Policyholders that are going to be hit the hardest will be those that own older properties and have a “subsidized” or “pre-firm” policy and are non-primary or rental properties. Click this link to read an overview that FEMA has put together. If you have specific questions, you can call our office or email Andrew Muller at Andrew@mappusinsurance.com
Here are some bullet points as to what is changing but I recommend that you click the link below to read about these changes more in detail and how they might affect you and your flood insurance policy.
Lastly, I am sure you have heard about “re-mapping”. Last we checked, re-mapping has been slightly delayed. We are being told that local communities will receive tentative map results by the end of 2015. Each community will have a time period where they can verify and/or dispute the new maps. Once this process is complete, new maps should be issued an in effect in late 2016. Now we are dealing with the federal government here so more delays are bound to happen…
At Mappus Insurance Agency we are dedicated to helping the local community with their personal insurance needs. Our specialties are beach properties, historical properties, high-valued properties, and new construction. We write homeowners, flood, wind/hail, auto, umbrella policies, and more. Let us know how we can help!
As a local Charleston insurance agency that specializes in flood insurance, we get asked all the time “how much does flood insurance cost?” or “my neighbor pays $XXX but I pay $YYY, why do they pay so much less than I do?”. If you are asking these same questions, you are not alone. Below, I will explain what goes into calculating your flood insurance premiums and how you can find out exactly what you should pay.
When it comes to flood insurance, every property is rated on its individuality so the answer to the all-important question is, it depends. But don’t stop reading here, as what I will say next is very important.
There are many items that go into determine the premiums for flood insurance, including, but not limited to, the replacement cost of the home (how much coverage you are looking for), deductibles (how much risk the homeowner is willing to take on), the flood zone; either X, A or V (this can change rates drastically), the base flood elevation (BFE) for the property, the elevation of the first elevated floor, and venting or “openings” if it is applicable for the type of construction and flood zone. So the next question is, “how do I find out this info?”. The answer is an Elevation Certificate (aka EC). An Elevation Certificate is the most important piece of the puzzle when it comes to flood insurance and needs to be the first thing reviewed when looking at flood insurance for a property. Click here to learn more about Elevation Certificates.
In short, every property can have a different outcome even if they are right next to each other, so it is not as easy for someone to say “my neighbor is paying $XXX”. Certainly if the homes have relatively the same replacement cost, have the same elevations, have the same venting ratios and are in the same flood zone, then one would assume the flood insurance premium should be relatively the same. However, let’s say that your neighbor adds a slab addition to his crawl-spaced home, now this changes everything.
If you are concerned with your flood insurance premiums, I would recommend reviewing your flood policy AND elevation certificate with a flood insurance specialist to see how you might be able to reduce your rates or become more compliant with current flood regulations. So how much does flood insurance cost? Well…it depends!
To discuss your flood insurance policy with one of our advisors, please complete the insurance quote form to the right.
Listen to The Brian Beatty Real Estate Show on 1250 WTMA and iHeart Radio every Saturday morning between 8 and 9 am. Andrew Muller is a frequent guest talking about various insurance related topics. Listen to Andrew give an update on the flood insurance reform delay and the NEW private flood insurance market that can potentially make your home very marketable if a new buyer were to experience major flood insurance rate increase. Click here to download and listen to the latest show!
I am sure you have heard this by now, but there has been much confusion that congress up in DC has already passed a delay in the new flood insurance bill that has affected many of us starting October 1st. No delays have been passed but only proposed. Read more below…
Last week in both the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives, legislators introduced bills that would delay targeted provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Biggert-Waters).
The bipartisan and bicameral legislation, titled the “Homeowner Insurance Affordability Act of 2013,” was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and in the House by Reps. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). Among its top provisions, the legislation would delay implementation of both the phase-out of “grandfathered properties” that are primary residences, and the phase-out of pre-FIRM subsidies for primary residences that are sold or have new policies.
Biggert-Waters was a vitally important law that provided security for 5.6 million NFIP policyholders, while also sending the program on a path towards strong financial footing. But the Big “I” is concerned that the two provisions mentioned above have the potential to financially harm individual consumers and, more broadly, the overall health of the U.S. economy.
The legislation introduced this week would delay implementation of these specific Biggert-Waters provisions, for primary residences only, until two years after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) completes a study on the affordability of NFIP policies. Although Biggert-Waters requires this study, FEMA recently announced it will not be completed for another two years, meaning the new bill would amount to a four-year delay of the targeted provisions.
The Big “I” is encouraged that a bipartisan and bicameral group of leaders is exploring ways to preserve the integrity of Biggert-Waters, while also mitigating the potential financial burden it may create for consumers and the economy. The association looks forward to working with both members of both parties to move the new bill through the legislative process.
John Prible is Big “I” vice president of federal government affairs.
More info to come as we receive it from Washington. Nothing has been passed yet, but this is certainly the first step to getting something passed to help the real estate industry across the country but more importantly, here in the Lowcountry.
Let us know how we can be of service.
Andrew Muller, CIC, AAI, PRIS
Managing Private Client Insurance Advisor
*this content was provided by the Independent Insurance Agents Association
With all the new flood insurance changes that have just occurred starting October 1, 2013 I thought it might be a good idea to give out some key contacts that might help you and your clients through a smoother process in finding an already produced elevation certificate so flood insurance quotes can be produced and processed.
Below are the contacts for each local area to find out if a current elevation certificate exists so your client doesn’t have to shell out an extra $325. That being said, if the elevation certificate that is on file is older than 10 years then it could potentially cause problems in the quoting process because not all the information needed will be on the older certificates, nonetheless, it is worth going through this process first before ordering a new elevation certificate.
Charleston County– Please email email@example.com or call at 843-202-6940 and provide the physical address of the property and if you have it the parcel number. They will email the elevation certificate back to you if it is on file. Note that Charleston County only handles rural areas, unincorporated areas and smaller towns around the area. Otherwise you will need to contact the Town or the City where the property is located.
City of Charleston– Please call 843-724-7320 which is the Building Inspections Department, they run the flood plain program for the city. Have your address on hand to provide it to them.
Mount Pleasant– Please call 843-884-5184 and ask to speak with the Flood Plain Manager, Rob Rogerson. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that if Mount Pleasant has an elevation certificate on file, they will charge a $10 processing fee…better than $325!
North Charleston– Please call 843-740-2564 and speak with either Rick, Charles, John or Darbis. If they have it on file then they will provide it to you.
Berkeley County– Please call Terri Hancock at 843-719-4053 or email the flood plain department at email@example.com
Dorchester County– Please call the Planning and Codes Department at 843-832-0011 and ask to speak with the flood plain manager. Have your address handy and ready to provide it.
Once you have an elevation certificate in hand then call our office at 843.763.4200 and email the certificate to Andrew at Andrew@mappusinsurance.com and we can complete a quote and help advise your clients on the best solutions. Keep in mind that quoting flood insurance is very tricky so only work with a knowledgeable insurance advisor.
Guest Writer: Sonya deTournillon, Office Manager with Atlantic Surveying, Inc.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR HOME AND SAVE MONEY WITH FEMA COMPLIANT FLOOD VENTS…IT MAY BE A LOT EASIER THAN YOU THINK!…
Would you like to understand the FEMA flood vent regulations that apply to your home and reduce your flood insurance premiums by a sizable amount? This document makes the regulations easy to understand, points out the benefits of installing flood vents, and will help you decide what kind of vents to install. Properly positioned and installed flood vents in your home’s foundation walls will not only help you protect your investment, they can help you save money. And, despite what you may have heard, the regulations governing their type and placement are easy to understand. These regulations were stipulated by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a program of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Requirements: the Basics
1 – Openings must be installed in foundation walls so that water can flow, unimpeded, in and out of the crawl space without damaging the walls’ integrity. The regulation is easy to remember: one square inch of opening in the foundation wall for every square foot of the area of your house. For example, a 2,000-square-foot crawl space would need 2,000 square inches of opening. The number of flood vents you need to install depends on the size and type of vent you buy. (More on that later.)
2 – Each enclosed area must have a minimum of two openings. If there are multiple enclosed areas within the foundation walls, each area must have at least two openings in its exterior walls.
3 – Flood vents must be below flood level to work. The bottom of each opening must be no more than 1 foot above whichever of these is higher: the interior or exterior grade immediately under the opening.
4 – Any screens, grates, grilles, fixed louvers, or other covers or devices you install must not block or hinder the automatic flow of floodwaters into and out of the enclosed area.
Why Are Flood Vents Required?
The purpose of flood vents (also called “flood gates” or “flood ports”) is to reduce structural damage from flooding. These permanent openings accomplish this objective by allowing water to pass into or out of a building’s exterior foundation walls.
Why is that so important? In a flood situation, if the water pressure inside and outside your home can’t equalize rapidly enough, the windows and doors could blow out. In addition, this pressure can compromise the foundation and make your home unsafe to live in. Studies have shown that houses with proper openings survive a flood; homes without such vents collapse.
Who Needs Flood Vents?
According to its website, the NFIP “requires flood vents for residential basements, crawl spaces, garages, and other enclosed structures that are below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) in Special Flood Hazard Areas.” BFE is the height of the base flood, usually in feet, in relation to the National Geodetic Vertical Datum of 1929 or other datum as specified.
When a community participates in the NFIP every property owner in the community must follow all of FEMA’s and NFIP’s requirements whether or not the property owner purchases flood insurance. One of the requirements is properly installed flood vents.
How Cost Savings Add Up
Properly installed and situated flood vents can pay for themselves very quickly. They allow you to save in two ways. The annual reduction on your flood insurance premiums can be considerable. Secondly, should floodwaters rise to your home, flood vents can reduce the risk of structural damage, which can be very costly to repair.
Which Type of Flood Vent Should You Install?
There are two types of flood vents on the market: non-engineered and engineered. Engineered vents have been designed in such a way that they provide a more efficient flood relief system, and thus fewer vents will need to be installed.
The opening size of the non-engineered flood vent is calculated by multiplying the width times the height of the opening. The opening size of the engineered flood vent is calculated using a mathematical formula that takes into account certain coefficients, net area and opening shapes. This formula calculation must be certified by a professional engineer. The main difference between the two types of flood vents is that fewer of the engineered flood vents are required to meet NFIP requirements. For example, a non-engineered 8″ x 16″ vent is rated at 128 square inches while an engineered 8” x 16” is rated at 205 square inches.
Other design and performance criteria for engineered openings are specified by the American Society of Civil Engineers:
1 – Engineered openings are to perform such that the difference between the exterior and interior water levels shall not exceed 1 foot during base flood conditions.
2 – Engineered openings are to be not less than 3 inches in any direction in the plane of the wall. This requirement applies to the hole in the wall, excluding any screen, grate, grille, louvers, or devices that may be placed in or over the opening. The 3-inch opening requirement applies to the hole in the wall; not the spaCe between the grates, grilles or louvers.
In a Nutshell: Numbers to Remember
FEMA’s flood insurance requirements boil down to this:
2 – Vents must be less than 12 inches above the ground.
3 – Two vents per enclosed area, on different exterior walls.
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