August 13, 2009, 12:50 PM HST · Updated August 14, 4:05 PM

The County of Maui will host a public meeting to assist residents and business owners in preparing for the potential impact from newly revised flood maps.  The changes are expected to affect several hundred properties in areas that will soon be designated as “high risk” flood areas.

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Major changes to the FIRM include newly flood-mapped areas of Waikapu, as well as Kamaole and Kalua’ihākōkō Gulches in Kihei. Other areas affected are located throughout the island. All of the preliminary FIRM maps may be viewed on the internet at

With the adoption of the new FIRMs tentatively scheduled for September 25, 2009, a property in a newly designated high risk area would then be required to obtain federally mandated flood insurance.


The public information session will be held Monday, August 17 at Kihei Community Center from 2 – 8 p.m. There will be a short presentation by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) officials on the new Flood Insurance Rate Maps at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Residents will be able to view FEMA’s new digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for Maui County to understand how their properties may be affected and to learn about financial steps they may need to take to protect their investment. Personnel from FEMA, the County of Maui and the State Department of Land and Natural Resources will be available to answer questions on individual properties’ flood zones, flood permits/construction requirements and approximate flood insurance costs.

Properties currently within the low-to-moderate flood risk areas may be able to be grandfathered into a lower insurance premium if flood insurance is obtained prior to September 25, 2009.

County planners estimate that annual insurance premium savings for residential properties can be as much as 427% if they are grandfathered in at the lower risk classification, while commercial structures can realize savings up to 640%. The final premium amount may change due to the as-built construction of a structure. However, residents and businesses affected should contact a local insurance agent for an accurate quote.

Flood insurance protects property owners from the financial devastation caused by floods that includes losses to buildings and their contents; the coverage applies whether the flooding results from heavy or prolonged rains, coastal storm surge, tsunamis, blocked storm drainage systems, levee dam failure, or other causes. Different types of policies are available depending on a property’s flood risk.

If a property is in a high risk area (flood zones A and V), a Standard Policy is required. Most mortgage lenders will require the policy to be in place before they will approve a loan.

For properties outside the high risk areas (zones B, C or X), flood insurance is also available, usually at lower cost to cover both your home and its contents. While property owners are not federally required to have flood insurance in a low-to-moderate risk area, that does not mean it will not ever need it. Large floods often extend beyond the boundaries of high risk areas and smaller floods can occur outside high risk areas as well. In fact, county officials say a quarter of all flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas.

Future outreach sessions on the FEMA map revisions are planned for Molokai and Hana. For more information, contact Francis Cerizo or Carolyn Cortez at the County of Maui Department of Planning at (808) 270-7253.

(Posted by Wendy Osher, Information provided by the County of Maui)


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