Article reprinted from Kenner Star September 2017 Edition – “FEMA finalizes Jefferson Parish flood insurance rate maps”
On August 9, 2017, Jefferson Parish announced the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) were now final and will be effective for flood insurance rates beginning on February 2, 2018. These final maps are available for viewing online at http://geoportal.jeffparish.net/flood/public. There will be two videos available at http://www.jeffparish.net/ now to help residents use the Geoportal as well as understand the details of the various flood zones. “FEMA’s approval of these flood insurance rate maps should benefit thousands of our residents to save money on their flood insurance premiums. I encourage all citizens to maintain flood insurance to protect your property from an unexpected flood event,” said Jefferson Parish President Michael S. Yenni.
Jefferson Parish flood insurance rates have used the same maps for the past 22 years. These newly finalized maps demonstrate a reduced flood risk for many areas within Jefferson Parish due to the use of best available data including ground elevation, upgrades to drainage canals and pump stations, as well as account for the accredited levee system. The following is a comparison from the 1995 and 2018 maps:
- Greater than 60,000 parcels decrease in the Base Flood Elevation – creating the potential for flood insurance rate savings when a property is rated based on risk.
- Greater than 40,000 parcels have a zone change from AE (high risk) to X (reduced risk), resulting in a total of greater than 90,000 parcels located in Zone X.
- A small number of parcels have either an increase in Base Flood Elevation or have a change to a higher risk flood zone from X to AE.
- Drainage projects are underway that will benefit these impacted areas. Staff is working with FEMA to develop a process to amend the maps once drainage improvement projects are complete.
Jefferson Parish recommends all property owners purchase flood insurance. Flooding can happen in any flood zone. Facts show individuals in Zone X file more than 20 percent of all flood insurance claims and receive one-third of federal disaster assistance for flooding. Flood insurance is federally required for mortgage holders living in Zone AE areas. For properties moving from a Zone X (low risk) to Zone AE (high risk), the National Flood Insurance Program’s grandfathering rules recognize policyholders who have maintained continuous flood insurance coverage. Policyholders can benefit by continuing to use the previous X zone designation for their insurance rating under the newly mapped procedures.
Purchasing a flood insurance policy now or maintaining flood insurance may increase the chance of grandfathering when this new map goes into effect. An insurance agent can help determine the lowest-cost option for your specific property.