Locals fear flood insurance increase - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Locals fear flood insurance increase

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) -

It was standing room only at Tybee Island City Hall, many fearing how they will be able to afford increased rates for flood insurance. FEMA and the DNR gave a presentation on the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act that will increase flood insurance beginning October 1.

Many folks on Tybee are still uncertain about what the future holds for their flood insurance plans.

"People here are just working class people like myself, teachers, real estate agents; we really can't afford this," said Tony Petrea, a Tybee Island resident.

FEMA and the DNR outlined how families will see changes. Those with a second home, property with severe or repeated flooding, or business properties in special flood hazard areas will see a 25 percent increase every year until rates reflect true risk.

"This is going to affect everybody that lives on Tybee," said Denise Winn, a Tybee Island resident.

It's an act that will affect everyone with flood insurance nationwide. FEMA officials explained that 81 percent of National Flood Insurance policyholders in Georgia are not subsidized and those folks may not see a routine annual rate increase.

WTOC's Elizabeth Rawlins spoke to someone with a vacation home on Tybee that pays less than $400 a year and now fears the worst.

"The way they were talking in the meeting, over thousands of dollars," said Jackie Carver. "I really don't have any idea what to expect."

Many folks expressed their frustrations about the new reform act including Tybee Island City Mayor Jason Buelterman.

"There are people up and down the coast that feel the same way." said Buelterman. "Of course, Georgia doesn't have as many coastal communities as say New Jersey, North Carolina and Florida but places like that, they have already started to lobby their members of Congress to get this thing changed."

There are many factors that will depend on how each individual policy will affected. For more information on the Biggert-Waters Reform Act click on the link below: http://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance-reform-act-2012

Copyright 2013 WTOC. All rights reserved.

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