Aid offered on flood insurance charge hikes

TOWANDA – Communities in Bradford County can get methods to partially shield themselves from the approaching steep increases in flood insurance prices, an engineer said this week at the Bradford County commissioners’; meeting.

By participating in the federal Local community Rating Technique, actions that municipalities take to deal with flooding concerns can reduce flood insurance charges from 5 to 45 % for all residence owners in that municipality’;s flood zones, Bradley D. Newlin, an engineer with URS Corp. explained at the commissioners’; meeting.

“If you implement prudent … measures (to deal with your municipality’;s flood plain), you can get a heavy reduction in the community’;s flood insurance coverage charges,” Newlin explained.

The steep price increases will impact those flood insurance policies that are federally subsidized. In Bradford County, there is a federally subsidized flood insurance coverage policy on a single in every 100 housing units, most of which are in Monroe and Towanda boroughs and Monroe, Athens, Ridgebury, and South Creek townships.

Newlin’;s presentation was sponsored by the Progress Authority, an financial growth company based mostly in Towanda.

The Local community Rating Technique, which is a component of the Nationwide Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), has existed ever given that the NFIP was implemented in the 1970s, Newlin explained.

Nonetheless, right up until now, there has not been widespread participation by municipalities in the Community Rating Method, due to the fact flood insurance coverage prices have not been high sufficient to stymie economic development, he stated.

Now, based mostly on flood insurance coverage legislation that was not too long ago signed into law, flood insurance coverage prices are expected to enhance substantially in flood zones, so there is now more of need to use the Neighborhood Rating System, he said.

Exclusively, for residences and companies built prior to the 1970s in a flood zone, flood insurance costs will very likely improve over time to actuarial charges – which means that in some instances, a $ 2,000 yearly flood insurance coverage premium would boost to tens of thousands of bucks per yr – which is not “economically viable” for numerous organizations and residences, he said.

The special discounts in flood insurance coverage rates supplied by the CRS system would partially offset the significant charge increases that are coming, he explained.

The Community Rating System (CRS) is a system that municipalities participate in on a voluntary basis, he stated.

Under the CRS program, municipalities earn a designated quantity of factors for undertaking up to 18 different kinds of action, such as providing home owners technical guidance on how to protect their buildings from flooding, supplying early flood warnings to the public, relocating flood-prone buildings so that they are out of the flood plain, and adopting a flood plain management ordinance that exceeds minimum specifications, in accordance to Newlin and a pamphlet on the program that was issued by FEMA. For the most component, municipalities choose and select which measures to implement, the pamphlet states.

Municipalities are awarded points primarily based on the extent to which they put into action the numerous measures, and the complete number of factors determines how large the reduction will be in the flood insurance coverage prices in that municipality, Newlin said.

There is presently one particular municipality in the United States that qualifies for a 45 % reduction, he said. “So everybody in that neighborhood gets a 45 % discount on their flood insurance coverage premium,” he explained.

In addition to the financial savings in flood insurance coverage charges, participation in the Neighborhood Rating System can prevent a considerable sum of flood damage, he stated.

“We advocate that an audit be carried out to assess where your neighborhood is in terms of the Community Rating Technique,” Newlin explained. “An audit also highlights capital tasks (to tackle flooding) that might be advantageous.”

Newlin also advised that municipalities work together to organize to have an engineering or surveying firm establish elevation certificates for many buildings in flood zones at a single time, which will make the certificates a lot much less pricey, he mentioned.

Generally, a single elevation certificate, which measures the elevation of a constructing in relation to the degree of a 25-12 months flood, can cost $ 500 to $ one,000, he said.

The use of elevation certificates is one component of determining a municipality’;s score underneath the Local community Rating Method.

In addition, Newlin advised that a county entity be established to function on addressing the concerns related to higher flood insurance costs in the county,

A 2006 study by the Pennsylvania Emergency Management System found that a 100-12 months flood in Bradford County would lead to $ 182 million in economic losses, Newlin stated. The study also discovered that a 10-year flood in Bradford County – which is the worst flooding that would be expected to take place in a 10-year time period – would cause $ 110 million in economic losses, he explained.

Doug McLinko, chairman of the Bradford County commissioners, complimented Newlin on his presentation. In the coming days and weeks, “we really want to carry on this conversation regularly,” he said.

James Loewenstein can be reached at (570) 265-1633 or email:

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