Deadline to Lock in Flood Insurance at a Lower Rate

Star-Advertiser 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 15, 2011

Homeowners fail to heed flood zone

Houses on the new map of potential disaster areas can be insured at a low rate, but few take action

By Leila Fujimori

An official says she is concerned that as many as several hundred Oahu property owners affected by updated federal flood maps might be unaware of a looming deadline to lock in insurance at a lower rate.

Responding before Wednesday’s [Jan. 19] deadline could make the difference between paying $350 or $5,700 a year for flood insurance.

But so far, the official and insurers have not seen a rush of people attending informational meetings or updating their policies.

“I have much empathy,” said state National Flood Insurance Program coordinator Carol Tyau-Beam. “It’s not cheap. Obviously that’s why we want to alert people to this grandfathering program.”

The Federal Emergency Management Agency updated its flood-risk maps in recent years. As a result, several hundred parcels on Oahu were shifted into high-risk flood zones.

Those parcels are primarily along Oahu’s west and south shores, from Kaena Point to Portlock, as well as Mekia Street in Waimanalo and a small portion of Laie, said Mario Siu-Li of the city Department of Planning and Permitting. Continue reading