It looks like those of us in Central Louisiana may be jumping aboard your ongoing battle against the Army Corps of Engineers and FEMA.
Many homeowners in Alexandria, Pineville and throughout Rapides Parish could be staring at mandatory flood insurance with an annual premium costing as much as $5,000.
Joe Sloan, an insurance specialist with the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program, told a gathering of more than 100 local residents, business leaders and elected officials of potential upcoming “insurance ramifications” after FEMA de-accredited the north, south and eastbank levees along the Red River in Rapides Parish.
The questions ranged from the process of de-accreditation by FEMA and decertification by the Corps of Engineers to how much the problem will cost to fix, who is responsible for the cost of the repairs and how much money local residents will have to pay for flood insurance.
The flood insurance would be mandatory for anyone in the new flood plain who is still paying a mortgage on a house, officials said.
Sloan advised residents that it’s still too early to tell specifically how much money they’ll have to pay for flood insurance because a new map hasn’t been drawn and the costs will differ on a case-by-case basis.
However, he said that a preferred risk policy can be purchased before the new maps are drawn for between $120 and $350 per year. That coverage then can be “grandfathered in” after the maps are finished, albeit at a higher cost ranging anywhere from $750 to $1,200 per year.
This should be an issue that all of us in Central Louisiana, regardless of our political beliefs or views on social issues, can agree on: This could be a major body blow to Central Louisiana. It could hurt small businesses, big businesses, and every nearly single homeowner in and around Alexandria. And we simply cannot afford it, both in the short-term and the long-term.
More than eighty years ago, the feds built our levees to their standards, then, recently, they changed those standards without any funding in place to ensure the structures they built could meet their new standards– which means that all of us who relied on those assurances provided by the federal government when deciding where to invest, where to raise our families, and where to buy our homes could now, suddenly, be left paying a high premium for our right to own property– in a place in which the levees have never been breached, even when the Red River rose over ten feet in 1973.
While this may hurt the vast majority of Alexandrians, many of whom have an income significantly below the national average, it would likely help boost the profits of the insurance industry and, believe it or not, engineers.
Maybe I’ve gotten this all wrong, and if you know better, then please educate me.
But either way, it is clearly time that we all write our members of Congress to let them know how this will affect us as individual citizens.