Rising Water Risks Mean Rising Premiums

Mar 24, 2014

Thousands of home and property owners in Washington, Oregon and Idaho face a rising tide of costs for their mandatory flood insurance policies. A review conducted by the Associated Press found that more than 13,000 federally subsidized flood insurance policies in Washington face hefty premium hikes, despite a rate relief law approved earlier this month.

The hikes will hit about 9,300 policyholders in Oregon - more than 1,400 in Idaho.
In 2012, Congress passed a law requiring subsidized policy holders to start paying premium rates based on the true risk of flooding. But faced with vociferous opposition from property owners in flood plain areas, lawmakers backtracked and passed legislation pulling back some of the immediate hikes.

Still, more than a million policyholders will be hit with premium increases year after year until the government flood insurance agency can collect premiums to match claims. Right now the National Flood Insurance program is running a 24-billion dollar deficit.

In Washington this year's increase will be about 18 percent for most flood insurance policy holders. And nearly 4,000 business firms or owners of second homes will see 25 percent hikes each year.
In Idaho, older communities and properties along rivers will be hardest hit with higher costs.