Remapping of Floodplains Surprises Some Owners

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has been remapping America’s aging floodplains for the last eight years, taking into account changes along waterways brought by development, storm patterns, and natural processes.

While FEMA is only about two-thirds of the way through the project nationwide, some home owners are already finding out that their property’s boundaries are now being designated as flood zones. The redrawn floodplains are leading some home owners to have to buy costly flood insurance, which can equate to hundreds or even thousands of dollars annually.

Home owner Amy Marren says she was surprised when she recently received notice from her lender that she needed flood insurance for her home in Wayne, Pa. She now has to pay a $2,400 annual policy, after an insurance agent told her the house was zoned like it were a “beach house.”

“It’s an emotional issue,” says David Bollinger, a hazard-mitigation specialist in FEMA’s Philadelphia region. “People are upset with us at times.”

To find flood maps and other information from FEMA, visit www.fema.gov.

Source: “Remapping of Floodplains Costly for Some Homeowners,” The Philadelphia Inquirer (Feb. 6, 2011)

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