Flood insurance program in Limbo - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Flood insurance program in Limbo

By Jay Polk - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –  It's only been a few months since creeks around South Georgia burst out of their banks.  Now the program that is helping those homeowners rebuild has been suspended. 

Only a few short months ago, the spot that I'm standing on at Veterans Park in Downtown Albany was under water.  But the worst flooding was on the Kinchafoonee and Muckalee Creeks.

South Georgians like Jack Wade Ivey didn't need much of reminder, but the ongoing flooding in the Northeast provided one anyway. "It runs chills up me.  It drags up old memories," he said.

He can remember December 17th, 2009, that he faced the same problem. That day he had 10 inches of water inside the lowest floor of his home.  When the waters receded, the damage was extensive.

He estimates "about $30,000 worth."

But Ivey had some help with the rebuilding of his home.  He had purchased flood insurance from the federal government through his insurance agent.  Over the years, it's covered thousands of other homeowners just like Jack.  But now it's run into a problem.

The program was not reauthorized to continue after March 28th.

With Congress on break for its Easter recess, reauthorization is not going to be happening for another couple of weeks.  Which means that if you're buying a home in a floodplain, or just trying to renew your flood insurance policy, then YOU have a problem too.

"During this time of hiatus, we can't issue new policies, we can't renew policies, nor can we take a policy that's in force and increase the coverage," said Lydia Livingston of Doherty, Duggan and Rouse Insurers.

But the good news is that Congress is aware of the situation. "Lenders have been in touch with them, insurance carriers, consumers, real estate agents," said Livingston.

For residents along creeks like the Muckalee, the flood insurance program is a popular one, and they're hoping that the hiatus is not permanent.

"I just hope that they continue to have flood insurance," Ivey said.

And for now, new homeowners will just have to hope that this doesn't happen again anytime soon.

You can fill out the paperwork to get flood insurance, but the policies can't be written until the program is reauthorized.  

Livingston told us that normally the reauthorization is done retroactively.  Which means that any new policies would have gone into effect on March 29th, 2010.

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