Flood insurance rating improves in Vicksburg

Published 11:34 am Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The cost of flood insurance has been reduced for Vicksburg property owners.

The Board of Mayor and Aldermen learned Tuesday that Vicksburg’s flood insurance rating has been upgraded from Class 7 to Class 6 under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System. The change means a 20 percent reduction in flood insurance rates, according to FEMA. The discount takes effect Oct. 1.

One Vicksburg insurance broker, however, said the overall savings for property owners buying flood insurance will be small.

Email newsletter signup

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletters

Check which newsletters you would like to receive
  • Vicksburg News: Sent daily at 5 am
  • Vicksburg Sports: Sent daily at 10 am
  • Vicksburg Living: Sent on 15th of each month

“A Class 7 rating has a 15 percent discount on rate, so you’re talking about a 5 percent difference,” said John Hennessey of Hennessey, Thames & Leavitt. “That’s not going to be a lot of money. If someone is paying $1,000 for flood insurance, it means their premium will be $50 less. If they’re paying $2,000, they’ll pay $100 less.”

He said flood insurance premiums differ in price based on the floodplain area where the property is. Property owners in high-risk areas, such as Ford Subdivision or Kings, both in the city’s 1 percent flood zone, will pay a higher premium than someone in a lower-risk area.

“We don’t have one standard or average rate for the city,” Hennessey said.

The Community Rating System is a voluntary program for cities participating in National Flood Insurance Program. It is designed to reduce flood damages to property, strengthen and support the insurance provisions of the National Flood Insurance Program and encourage a comprehensive approach to floodplain management.

To get the Class 6 designation, on a scale of 1 to 10, the city had to meet 15 categories required by the Community Rating System. Compliance was determined by a review by a representative from the national Insurance Standards Organization.

“Most of the things they required were things we were already doing, sometimes on a daily basis,” said Victor-Gray Lewis, city buildings and inspection director. “These were things like maps, setting stricter (base flood) elevations for homes in high risk areas and outlining hazards. We put together a report of what we were doing and submitted it to FEMA.”