City's Improved Flood Rating Means Savings for Some Residents

An upgrade in Houston's flood insurance rating means many residents within the 100-year floodplain will get a small break on their new or renewed policies starting this month. Houston Public Radio's Jack Williams reports.

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The city's Community Rating within the federally-backed National Flood Insurance Program has been upgraded from a "class 8" to a "class 7", which means lower premiums for thousands of residents. This is Houston Mayor Bill White.

"For Houston families, that could be over $1 million a year from what they would otherwise pay. For a single-family house built before 1979, you're talking about, it could be $30 or $40 a year that is realized on savings in premiums on your federal flood insurance."

Homes built after 1979 will see average savings of about $20 a year. Director of Public Works Mike Marcotte says the Community Rating System has helped Houston improve its flood control plans.

"This is a unique program in that it's not a set of prescriptions that you have to get to meet the hurdles, it's a point system so that you can pick and choose. Each community can look at those things that make sense for it and I think a unique example of where the federal government and local governments are working together to incentivize best practices with some real incentives, and that is savings to their citizens."

Houston is one of only a handful of big cities with the flood insurance rating of "class 7". There are an estimated 109,000 flood insurance customers in Houston. Many of them will get the rate reduction when they renew their policies.

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