The National Flood Insurance Program will be up for renewal by Congress in July and Mississippi’s Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said the rates will be going up. While the National Flood Insurance Program, NFIP, is not regulated by the Mississippi Insurance Department, Chaney says they are monitoring Congress closely on the issue.
“In 2013, when coastal homeowners were faced with draconian rate increases in flood insurance due to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, the Mississippi Insurance Department sued the federal government,” said Chaney. “Our case was heard in federal court with testimony from individuals facing premium increases of tens of thousands of dollars, forcing some to give up their homes. In 2014, we dropped the lawsuit following Congress taking action and passing the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.”
As of August 1st, 2017, there were 64,477 flood insurance policies in force with a little over $15.5 billion dollars in coverage in Mississippi.
“Rates are going up 8% for just about everyone out there and then you have the 25% increase that is going up to make rates actuarially sound,” Chaney said. “I and all of my commissioner friends throughout the United States have pushed Congress to say we will let you have private flood insurance… but the banks don’t want to accept private flood insurance because the Treasury says they want the government insurance. The rub is that government insurance costs two to three times more than the private flood.”
Chaney said that the most recent flood maps were done in 2014 and that some of the maps are now being updated. He added that if someone thinks their property is subject to flooding that they should visit www.floodsmart.gov to check their property and see if they are in a floodplain and what their risk level is and added that if someone is considering getting flood insurance, now is the time to buy it because the prices will be rising soon.
“Whether you are in a floodplain or not, you ought to consider buying flood insurance, it’s cheap, you should do it because you will get grandfathered in if you buy it correctly,” Chaney said.
Chaney added that in Mississippi most flood insurance has to be bought from the federal government, however, he said that private flood insurance can be bought on the coast.