From the experts: The skinny on flood insurance

During the FEMA Open House on Friday, June 13, there were two representatives from Weichert Insurance Agency, Morris Plains, looking to educate residents about flood insurance.

Unfortunately, Tim Varone and Frank Weber said they were asked to leave the open house by FEMA Regional Director Stephen Kempf, of Region II.

I interviewed Varone and asked him many questions regarding flood insurance. Because, if you will note, it seems FEMA is really good at pitching (er, mandating) flood insurance, yet the agency does not actually sell the product it so very adamantly insists the nation purchase.

Weber made an excellent point about flood insurance. He said, while FEMA may be the program, it does not know how to actually sell the program.

The first video of the two-part installment is Varone discussing the “grandfathering” of insurance rates. He says it behooves residents to take advantage of purchasing insurance now, before the zones actually change. When they do – and trust me, they will – the rates will increase, even the seemingly “low rates” offered now.

Varone also made it a point to distinguish certain flood hazard zone designations and what they mean to an insurance company. He said zones B, C and X are referred to as “preferred zones,” and could change to A zones on new Flood Insurance Rate Maps. The preferred zones typically mean a lower rate.

In the second video, Varone discusses why it is important to purchase flood insurance even if a resident owns his or her home. He says it will affect the resale value of a home when it comes time to sell.

Ultimately, and again, I visit this topic often – It comes down to money. Here’s FEMA, interrupting everyday life in the Bayshore with the crazy idea of mitigating risk. Here come the insurance agents: We all knew it wouldn’t be long before they trailed FEMA’s act.

Money money money. It’s just a fancy way of backing taxpayers – citizens who pay plenty of money into a government that never ceases to fail them, time and time again – of backing them working person into a corner.

Residents hear they need flood insurance if their property is located in a flood hazard zone, especially if they mortgage their homes. Ah, but, if you OWN your home, you’re not “mandated” to purchase flood insurance . . . HOWEVER, it is a good idea, considering policies are at their cheapest now.

Buy now, worry later

Isn’t that the economic theory society is trying to wean away from? Isn’t the United States in enough debt already?

Many people I have spoken to also make this point, a very valid one: Flood insurance does not help residents during an actual disaster. Perhaps U.S. Army Corps projects would? Who knows. They haven’t built any in a while, and I’m not sure the agency even knows what to do about the new “standards” FEMA has imposed.

“Grandfather” away, FEMA. Let’s hope there are residents left to tell this story to future generations. Maybe they’ll be sitting on the front porch having a drink, laughing about the “good ole’ days” when a silly federal agency almost drove them out of their homes.

Or maybe they’ll be like many Bayshore residents who lived for years in the very same towns they grew up in, but then had to leave because . . . Well, darn, because it just became too expensive to live.




Filed under Bayshore Flooding, FEMA, Flood Maps, Monmouth County, Tim Varone, Weichert Insurance Agency

2 responses to “From the experts: The skinny on flood insurance

  1. Alyssa Passeggio

    It is not unusual for government, or people in an influential position, to instill fear in order to get their way.

    FEMA officials did just that during the informational meeting in Hazlet, and I am sure it did not stop there. One official told tales of people who did not believe her about the flood zone, did not purchase her product and their homes flooded within months.

    I think if they dropped the dooms-day speeches people would take them a little more seriously.

    I know FEMA officials said there is not enough money to fix the berms and such to rectify the situation. However, there clearly is not enough money to pay out claims for flooding, as seen with the federal loans after Katrina.

    I agree with you that money would be better spent on fixing the problem, rather than insuring it. Unfortunately, this is just another example of improper spending in government.

  2. James Hogan

    Speaking of the money and fixing problems, I just saw this news story show up on my ticker:
    “FEMA: Don’t wait for inspection to clean up damage” which seems to tell the public “don’t expect us to show up any time soon, just go about your business and take care of yourselves and your property because we can’t afford to take care of it for you. By the way, if protecting your camera from flood waters was more important that protecting any other more valuable property, just take pictures of the damage.”


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