Local property owners dealing with alarming flood insurance costs

About 10 percent of Lycoming County’s 53,000 parcels are in the flood plain.

And according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, 1,900 of the parcels will be affected by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

Under the reform act, flood insurance rates are going up drastically based on new building regulations applying to flood plain homes.

For those who have a basement and live in the flood plain, the insurance premium cost is alarming, often several thousand dollars more a year. The only way to avoid the premium shock is to upgrade the property to meet new flood plain regulations, and that’s expensive, too. And without flood insurance, properties in these areas lose their value.

While the new regulations don’t affect structures built after 1981 in accordance with local flood ordinances, a significant portion of these structures are much older than that.

Moreover, it’s tough getting loans to update properties in the flood plain when the value of the property is down due to the legislation.

This seems to be a problem without a solution.

For all the things the federal government gets involved in, we think some sort of low- or no-interest government loan for property owners needing to make the upgrades would not be out of line. That’s especially true given that the work would lead to less flood damage in the future, thereby saving the country money during future disasters.