On March 30, new flood insurance maps for New Orleans by the Federal Emergency Management Agency are expected to be released. According to nola.com, the maps “promise dramatically lower premiums for many property owners within the upgraded hurricane levee system.”
Moreover, the maps have omitted thousands of properties from regions deemed Special Flood Hazard Areas—areas that require property owners within them to secure flood insurance.
Although those homeowners and businesses located in the safe “X zones” are not required to have flood insurance, floodplain management program head and Safety and Permits director for New Orleans City Hall Jared Munster urged everyone to continue purchasing federally-backed policies.
"While you may not be required to have it, please, please have flood insurance," Munster said. He added that the cost of flood insurance in the so-called X zones is considerably more affordable than that in areas at higher risk of flooding, so such a small expense could save property owners from a costly catastrophe.
FEMA announced its plans to disseminate letters to city officials on the same day it rolls out the new maps, declaring the maps final. From there, City Council has six months to adopt the new maps.
Munster told nola.com that he expects the council to vote either on June or early July on the maps, as well as one some related changes to ordinances involving new construction.
Once the council has approved the maps, the insurance rate changes will likely come into effect at the next renewal date. Those policyholders who have inquiries or criticisms over the map changes would have to raise their concerns with their respective insurance companies.
A FEMA spokesperson confirmed that appeals and comment periods over the proposed St. Bernard Parish and Jefferson Parish flood maps are underway—in late spring and early summer, respectively.