In a subtropical climate, flood insurance is one of the best deals a property owner can get.
More than 16,000 Livingston Parish homeowners will see their flood insurance rates go up this year because the parish wasn't able to provide f…
It’s subsidized through the National Flood Insurance Program, and too many people in Louisiana have not taken advantage of it. Some of them suffered a particularly hard lesson in Livingston Parish in 2016.
While flooding was widespread in the Baton Rouge area and elsewhere in the state that summer, including northern Louisiana as well as Acadiana, the epicenter of the disaster was in the Amite River basin. Livingston Parish was seriously hit.
And now, flood insurance is not going to be quite as affordable next year.
More than 16,000 homeowners will see rates go up because parish government let them down.
Discounts available through the NFIP, up to 45 percent, are allowed if local authorities make efforts to reduce flood risk through public outreach, increased building standards and green space, among other initiatives.
Livingston Parish’s failure to provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency with basic prerequisite documentation of permits and elevation certificates led to a reduction in the parish's Community Rating System score. FEMA manages the NFIP policies.
That means no discounts for residents in unincorporated parts of the parish who pay for flood insurance.
The parish’s rating previously was 9, and it changed to 10 — the lowest possible score — after the recent issue on permitting, according to an April 1 letter from FEMA addressed to Livingston Parish President Layton Ricks.
As the National Flood Insurance Program heads toward insolvency, Congress must weigh whether and how to reauthorize the program and settle its…
The result is that homeowners will no longer get the 5 percent discount they had been receiving. The discount collectively saved Livingston Parish residents nearly $300,000 per year on their flood insurance policies, according to a 2016 report from the Center for Planning Excellence. The discount will disappear effective May 1.
The good news is that the population in Walker and Denham Springs, devastated in 2016 as well, is still covered by discounts — 10 percent off the policies because they are rated at 8 in the community score.
We certainly understand the enormous challenges facing Livingston officials and residents since 2016, but this particular problem is in part based on the parish’s data being stored in stacks of three-ring binders. Shouldn’t someone have acted sooner?
With luck, the discounts can be applied for again in 2020, parish officials said. But this is part of a big issue: Coverage by the NFIP is of vital importance not only to property owners but to the communities they live in.
Payments from the NFIP help speed rebuilding. The goal of officials in Livingston, as well as other places, should be to make flood insurance a basic part of coverage for homes and small businesses.