New FEMA Rules Mean Higher Flood Insurance Rates for Most Coloradans

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Most people in Colorado who use the Federal Emergency Management Agency National flood insurance program can expect to see premiums increase soon, according to national and national experts.

The agency amended how he is underwriting flood risks across the country, with the changes taking effect October 1.

Existing customers with lower value homes overpaid for flood insurance, agency says website, and those with higher value homes have paid too little.

Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association, said the rate changes would compensate for this disparity and also take into account the increased risk of flooding as climate change worsens and forest fires lead to more flooding.

The average customer who currently purchases flood insurance through the NFIP pays $ 958 per year, said Mark Friedlander, spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute in New York City. Those in Colorado considered “low to moderate risk” typically pay less than $ 500 per year.

New customer policies will begin under the new system, Friedlander said. But existing customers won’t see a change in their rates until April 1, 2022, assuming they renew their insurance plans.

FEMA is by far the largest provider of flood insurance in Colorado and across the country, Walker said. Friedlander estimated that of the roughly 21,000 Colorado residents who purchase flood insurance through FEMA:

  • 43% will see a drop in their premiums.
  • 48% will see an increase of up to $ 120 per year.
  • 5% will see an increase of up to $ 240 per year.
  • 4% will see an increase greater than $ 240 per year.

FEMA representatives declined The Post’s interview requests.

While private companies that offer flood insurance charge higher rates because they better assess this risk, Walker said, FEMA’s rates have been too low.

But the risk of flooding in Colorado is also increasing, Walker added, pointing to the widespread flooding of 2013 as a turning point in the state’s history. They killed 10 people, destroyed more than 1,800 homes and caused $ 4 billion in damage.

Food inevitably follows in the wake of forest fires, and forest fires in Colorado are growing in size and frequency; the three most important in the history of the state took place in 2020.

As the threat of flooding increases due to burn scars left by forest fires, these areas are specifically included in the Colorado Flood Threat Map, according to Micki Trost, spokesperson for the Colorado Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Colorado broke its flash flood warning record in September 2021, with 282 statewide warnings, compared to a 10-year average of around 100 warnings per year. The previous record, set in 2013, was 176 flash flood warnings.

FEMA uses flood threat maps like the state’s to assess flood risk and set insurance rates with its new system, Friedlander said.

“It’s very suitable for your specific risk at your specific home,” he said.

The more people who buy flood insurance, the more likely the rates are to drop, Walker noted. If you don’t have flood insurance, you end up depending on emergency FEMA grants – money that can take years, if at all, she said.


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