Calcasieu residents, businesses could be hit by higher flood insurance premiums

By By John Guidroz / American Press

Calcasieu Parish residents and business

owners could end up paying higher flood insurance premiums because of

the 2012 Biggert-Waters

Flood Insurance Reform Act, an official with a Virginia-based

consulting firm told parish officials Thursday.

Bryon Griffith, vice president of Dewberry, told Calcasieu police jurors about the legislation and how it may affect property

owners. The company studies the impact of policies like Biggert-Waters.

Congress last year approved Biggert-Waters, which extends the National Flood Insurance Program for five years and implements

major reforms in an attempt to make the program self-sufficient.

Griffith said the program calls for a “phasing out” of the federal subsidy structure and that the act “impacts every floodplain

in the United States.”

One section of Biggert-Waters will affect properties in Calcasieu that already had flood insurance rates established according

to the Base Flood Elevation, he said. Griffith said many of those grandfathered properties will carry a lower rate, unless

“there is any exchange of property,” or “a cancellation of the insurance of any kind.”

Another part of the act states that “high-risk structures,” or homes in a “VE” zone, could see insurance premiums in excess

of $20,000.

According to 2010 census numbers, Griffith said, more than 40 percent of Calcasieu Parish could be affected by Biggert-Waters.

“It is a very volatile market profile right now, to say the least,” he said.

Griffith said the effects of the act

should be considered when people begin to arrive in Calcasieu to work on

industrial projects

like Magnolia LNG or the expansion of the Sasol facility in

Westlake.

Griffith said police jurors should expect some challenges with educating residents about Biggert-Waters.