The high cost of insurance for reconstruction is the theme of this article in the NYTimes, Nov. 28, 2012: Cost of Coastal Living to Climb Under New Flood Rules. (Also titled Post-Storm Cost May Force Many from Coast Life.) Some excerpts follow:
New York and New Jersey residents, just coming to grips with the enormous costs of repairing homes damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, will soon face another financial blow: soaring flood insurance rates and heightened standards for rebuilding that threaten to make seaside living, once and for all, a luxury only the wealthy can afford.
Homeowners in storm-damaged coastal areas who had flood insurance — and many more who did not, but will now be required to — will face premium increases of as much as 20 percent or 25 percent per year beginning in January, under legislation enacted in July to shore up the debt-ridden National Flood Insurance Program. The yearly increases will add hundreds, even thousands, of dollars to homeowners’ annual bills.
The higher premiums, coupled with expensive requirements for homes being rebuilt within newly mapped flood hazard zones, which will take into account the storm’s vast reach, pose a serious threat to middle-class and lower-income enclaves.
The heightened financial pressure has emerged as an unintended consequence of efforts to stop the government subsidization of risk that has encouraged so many to build and rebuild along coasts increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather. Supporters of the effort acknowledged that it would squeeze lower-income residents but said it was vital for the insurance program to reflect the risk of living along the shore.
“The irony is, if we allowed market forces to dictate at the coast, a lot of the development in the wrong places would never have gotten built,” said Jeffrey Tittel, director of the Sierra Club’s chapter in New Jersey. “But we didn’t. We subsidized that development with low insurance rates for decades. And we can’t afford to keep doing that.
[Thanks for Jude Colle for calling it to my attention.]
- After Sandy: Why We Can’t Keep Rebuilding on the Water’s Edge (science.time.com)