Oklahoms could see increasing flood insurance rates

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ARDMORE OK - Several Ardmore neighborhoods are in flood plains where homeowners could see increases to their flood insurance now that the federal government is reducing subsidies.

Lance Windel owns a property management and residential development company and says as a policy owner, he's concerned.

"On the flood maps they call it one designation and it's the same one that you might have in a much more likely place prone to flooding and we're still paying the same rate even though we have a much lower risk," said Windel.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act signed into law last week will limit flood insurance premium increases up to a max of 18 percent per year, a cost that could affect hundreds of people in Ardmore.

"The city of Ardmore has a lot of regulated flood plain," said Ardmore flood plain manager Jessica Scott. "And so if you live in flood plain 'A' and if you have a loan--a mortgage--then the mortgage company will require that you have flood insurance."

Scott says the recent bill was designed to reform the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which would have allowed 20 percent increases every year for 5 years until homeowners were paying a completely unsubsidized premium price; a law that Scott said could've had Ardmorites paying a 100 percent increase.

"The Biggert-Waters Act would have been a serious impact on a lot of residents in Ardmore," said Scott. "And so now with this new affordability act it's a reprieve for a lot of our citizens."

Individual premiums will vary based on many factors including location, flood zone and how far a structure is built above flood level. Because many homeowners insurance policies don't cover flooding, insurance agent Tim Longest said flood insurance is still worth it.

"If your financial situation, if one of those losses would devastate you, absolutely, you need to look into flood insurance," Longest said.