HANA MEETING TO ADDRESS CHANGE IN FLOOD MAPS

September 14, 2009, 9:10 AM HST · Updated September 14, 9:11 AM
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A public meeting will be held in Hana today (Monday, September 14, 2009) to assist residents and business owners in preparing for the potential impact that newly revised flood maps.  Several hundred properties across the county will soon be designated as “high risk” flood areas, affecting insurance rates for those property owners.The hana meeting runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Helene social hall.

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Residents will be able to view Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) 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 the County of Maui will be available to answer questions on individual properties’ flood zones, flood permits/construction requirements and approximate flood insurance costs.

Major changes to the FIRM include newly flood-mapped areas of Waikapu, as well as Kamaole and Kaluaihakoko Gulches in Kihei. Other areas affected are located throughout the island. All of the preliminary FIRM maps may be viewed on the internet at http://gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat/.

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

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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. Property owners 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.

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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 you are not federally required to have flood insurance in a low-to-moderate risk area, that does not mean you 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, a quarter of all flood insurance claims come from low-to-moderate risk areas.

(Posted by Wendy Osher; information provided by the County of Maui)

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