Lafayette Parish property owners who will be newly mapped into a flood zone are urged to buy flood insurance at least 30 days before the new maps go into effect, as that could lock in a lower insurance rate for up to two years, the parish floodplain administrator said on Wednesday.
Stephanie Weeks said even if a property is set to be in a higher-risk flood zone when the new maps go into effect Dec. 21, insurance companies generally will honor the lower rate for up to a year. Then, the companies will offer a “newly mapped” discounted rate for up to another year.
Policies take 30 days to go into effect, so the insurance must be bought at least that far ahead of the new maps’ effective date, Weeks said.
“Get it as soon as possible,” she said.
Weeks briefed local media on Wednesday ahead of a series of meetings set to begin next week on the changes. The meetings will be held in Broussard, Scott and Carencro and are open to the public, although they’re especially geared to anyone who will be newly mapped into a flood zone and/or the floodway.
LCG and FEMA engineers and others who have been involved in the mapping process, along with an insurance-company representative, will be on hand to answer questions. There will be a short presentation at the start of the meeting, then it will be an open-house format after that.
The new flood maps have been in the works since FEMA first began the re-mapping process in 2004, but they’ve since been subject to appeals from LCG, the City of Scott and numerous landowners who disagreed with FEMA’s data.
The current maps are from 1996.
About 4,500 properties will see their labeled flood risks increase, while about 4,500 others will see their labeled flood risks decrease, Weeks said.
Weeks said property owners who will be mapped into the Special Flood Hazard Area — an area that has a 1 percent annual chance of flooding — should have received a letter about the upcoming changes, which require property owners with a mortgage to buy flood insurance.
Weeks said even if a property owner is not paying a mortgage — or if their property will be moved out of the flood zone — they’re still urged to buy or maintain their flood insurance.
“That’s one thing we really want to stress, is that just because the federal government is saying you’re not required to carry flood insurance anymore, they should still carry it,” Weeks said.
Flood-insurance requirements aren’t the only changes. Properties that will soon be labeled as within a flood way — the flood-prone areas that surround water channels, including the Vermilion River — will also see more strict development requirements.
“A flood way is basically the most important part of the floodplain,” Weeks said. “It’s an area that should be reserved. There really should be no development there, although development can occur there. They just have to go through a little bit more as far as requirements go.”
Here’s the meetings schedule:
- Sept. 11, 6 p.m. Broussard Community Center, 108 Broadview Dr.
- Sept. 12, 6 p.m. Scott Event Center, 110 Lions Club Rd.
- Sept. 19, 6 p.m. Carencro Community Center, 5115 N. University Ave.
The new maps can be viewed online here.
More information can be found here, or contact Stephanie Weeks, floodplain administrator, at 337-291-8468 or firstname.lastname@example.org.