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Supervisors Work to Reduce Residents’ Flood Insurance Costs

The Falls Township Board of Supervisors is working with its township engineer and floodplain administrator to obtain flood insurance reductions for residential properties previously deemed to be located in a floodplain.

“People are paying thousands of dollars in flood insurance,” Supervisors Chairman Bob Harvie said, adding that in some cases, it is not necessary to do so. “We can earn credits for residents in Falls so they can apply those credits toward their flood insurance.”

The township has been working for several years with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to re-evaluate previously deemed flood-prone areas. New FEMA maps are expected to come out next year showing some areas as no longer being situated in a floodplain.

In the interim and beyond, officials are working through FEMA’s Community Rating System to help residents in taking advantage of all available flood insurance discounts. Reductions are based on the efforts of the township in providing public information, mapping and regulations and flood damage reduction, as well as warnings and response.

According to Tom Bennett, the township’s floodplain administrator, ratings are based on a 500-point scale, which provides a premium discount for every 500 points achieved. The maximum discount is 45 percent if the community achieves a 1 rating. Falls Township could achieve a 6 or 7 rating, which would amount to a premium discount of 15 percent to 20 percent, according to Harvie.

Mapping could result in an even better rating.

As properties are removed from the floodplain, residents would be notified, according to Harvie. It is not clear when flood insurance premium discounts would take effect.

“If we can do more then why not?” Harvie said of the township’s efforts to decrease residents’ insurance premiums.

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