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A Five-Year Extension for the National Flood Insurance Program
Bruce Bender, BakerAECOM
What changes are planned?
One of the principal impacts of BW-12 will be on flood insurance premium rates.  The Act calls for new rates that reflect the full expected values of future losses, or actuarial rates. Current subsidies and discounts for many properties will be phased out and eventually eliminated. The expectation is that the price property owners pay for their flood insurance policies will become commensurate with the risk and potential cost of flood damage to the structure.
Some of the changes to flood insurance policies will include:
  • Owners of non-primary/secondary residences in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) will see 25 percent increase annually until rates reflect true risk – began January 1, 2013.
  • Owners of property that has experienced severe or repeated flooding will see 25 percent rate increase annually until rates reflect true risk – beginning October 1, 2013.
  • Owners of business properties in a SFHA will see 25 percent rate increase annually until rates reflect true flood risk -- beginning October 1, 2013.
    (Each property’s risk is different. Some policyholders may reach their true risk rate after a couple years of increases, while other policyholder increases may go beyond five years to get to the full risk rate required by the new law.)
Changes in flood insurance are not the only modifications that will result from BW-12.  The Act also institutes changes to the flood mapping process, mitigation measures, and processes for funding the NFIP.
 
These changes include:
  • Creation of a Technical Mapping Advisory Council to provide guidance on producing the most accurate flood hazard maps
  • Combining the Hazard Mitigation Assistance programs (to include Severe Repetitive Loss, Repetitive Flood Claims, and Flood Mitigation Assistance) into the National Flood Mitigation Fund
  • Creation of the Flood Protection Structure Accreditation Task Force, a collaboration between FEMA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, to gather better information about levee systems and their capabilities 
Keep up with future changes
Because the Biggert-Waters Act will result in many large-scale changes to the structure of the NFIP, the Act is being addressed through a phased approach. As FEMA develops ways to implement the procedural changes outlined in the Act, it will provide guidance on how stakeholders can apply these changes.  To keep up to date about changes resulting from BW 12, go here.
 
If you are interested in reading the Biggert-Waters Act in its entirety, go here.
 
* This information is from the Association of Floodplain Managers summary of BW-12, which may be found by going here. ​
 

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