A Scituate homeowner stuck with a $68,000 flood insurance bill following redrawn flood zone maps has dropped her coverage, according to her insurance agent.
“They don’t have a bank so they’re not required to carry it,” said Albert Marchionne, of A.J. Marchionne Insurance Agency, in Quincy.
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy brought tropical storm force winds across 1,000 miles of the East Coast, damaging or destroying 650,000 houses, killing 147 people, and causing more than $50 billion in damage across 24 states, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration report.
Sandy struck a few months after Congress passed into law the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which instructed the National Flood Insurance Program to redraw its flood maps, eliminate some discounts and make the program more solvent by more accurately measuring risk.
The new Federal Emergency Management Agency flood maps have drawn in homeowners who lived outside the flood zones, and increased rates so that local realtors have worried about a potential rise in foreclosures.
Marchionne spoke to FEMA earlier in the year, and he said officials there stood by the premium adjustment, up from about $3,000 per year, and placed part of the blame on dimensions of the home, which was rebuilt after the blizzard of 1978.
FEMA determined the home, which is right on the beach, was not sufficiently raised above the high tide mark, Marchionne said. “Apparently they missed by three inches,” Marchionne told the News Service. He said, “They said that’s what it is. They missed the elevation so that’s what the price is.”
Rep. James Cantwell, a Marshfield Democrat, who has said Scituate and Marshfield hired their own consultant to contest the FEMA maps, provided a copy of a July 27 insurance bill to the Sullivans on Turner Road, in Scituate.
As part of his larger effort to bring attention to hardships caused by increased flood insurance rates, Cantwell has said budget cuts limited FEMA’s ability to review its surveys, and the government shutdown, which began Oct. 1, has placed on furlough the governmental affairs person at FEMA whom he speaks to about constituents’ concerns.
Marchionne said “without question” the home on a fairly crowded sandy spit of land off Scituate Harbor is in a risky area. Workers have recently begun piling large rocks at the end of the peninsula, where a jetty protects the harbor.
[Michael Norton contributed reporting]