Flood Insurance Changes in Illinois and Nebraska

January 14, 2010

It’s difficult enough to know when flood insurance is required when you live in a relatively stable region, but property owners in three counties in southwestern Illinois are in a kind of flood zone limbo, while they wait for new Mississippi River flood maps to be drawn.

According to Illinois Senator Richard Durbin, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has informed him in writing that there will be a delay of new flood insurance maps for Madison, Monroe, and St. Clair counties, until at least 2011.

Originally the maps were to be published sometime this year, but FEMA has told Senator Durbin that more time is needed for accurate analysis of public comments about the maps, as well as to handle “other required administrative steps.”

Since the revised maps are expected to result in a significant increase to the size of the flood plain, the number of people for whom flood insurance will be mandatory, and the cost of such insurance, the people of Illinois are not upset about the reprieve.

Further west, in Nebraska, there are also changes to flood insurance in the works, but in this case the news is good: the city of Lincoln, NE has received a rating upgrade that will save local property owners money on their flood insurance

A press release from Lincoln Mayer Chris Beutler said that the city’s rating improved from class 7 to class 6 in the Federal Community Rating System. Mr. Beutler attributes the improvement to the city’s extensive work with federal officials to gain credits to the flood protection provided by the Salt Creek levee.

Representatives of the City of Lincoln say that the improved rating will help local property owners save about 20% a year – or roughly $160 – on flood insurance, as opposed to a savings of 15% ($120) under the old rating.