Ga. Homeowners Irate Over Flood Insurance Hikes
|By Terry Dickson|
They were hit by a flood of angry people, some who said the new insurance rates would make their property unsalable and others who predicted a wave of foreclosures and a devastated real estate market because few will be able to afford flood insurance.
With the National Flood Insurance Program about
Policy holders will see 25 percent increases in their premiums each year until the payments reach the level
Much of that is based on new digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps that put homes at risk that were once deemed safe, and therein lies much of the problem,
"They think the only people with flood problems are rich people living on the coast, so who cares?'' Provenzano said of the members of
They justified the bill by asserting that average Americans were paying rich people to build dangerously close to the coast.
Those renters are going to be displaced, as are people who will see flood insurance rates higher than their mortgage payments, Provenzano and others complained.
The coast of
"It's going to kill the real estate market,'' Provenzano said.
It's already killed
"We've had four contracts on our house that have gone bust because we informed the buyers'' of the coming hike in flood insurance premiums, Morton told
Morton said the buyers backed out because she was truthful and warned them about the rate hikes.
Unless she is able to sell her house, Morton told Wilson and Mitchell, the public "is going to be paying
"Why don't you just outright condemn our properties?'' she asked. "You're going to have foreclosures out the wazoo because people cannot pay."
Several predicted that people with mortgages would simply walk away from their homes, leaving a lot of vacant houses and sending property values plummeting all along the coast.
One property is Skipper's, a restaurant on the
Tolleson said he and his partners may be compelled to pay down loans so they can avoid buying the flood insurance that lenders require.
The new maps won't be the only consideration for setting rates. Experts will look at other factors to base premiums on "velocity zones,'' where properties would be hit by rising water and waves in a storm.
"I don't think
It would cost
She also questioned Mitchell and Wilson about
In spite of taking
"This community is going to be devastated,'' she predicted.
"Quite frankly, that's the way we want to see it,'' Wilson said, drawing howls from the crowd.
One man, who lives a mile west of
Another man griped that his insurance premiums had skyrocketed while the flood insurance payout has remained frozen at a maximum
"Why are we paying more for the same coverage we had 10 to 15 years ago?" a man asked.
Wilson replied that the payouts were set by
There could be two 100-year storms in a matter of a couple of weeks, Wilson said.
"It can happen in any given year any number of times,'' she said.
The mood of the crowd became clear when a woman stepped to a microphone and said, "We're looking at purchasing a house on the island ...''
"Buy mine,'' a man called out as hands shot up all over the auditorium.Terry
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