While the risk of flooding is on the rise, so are insurance rates. That’s according to the National Flood Insurance Program. Most of the communities in Maine that will see an increase, and that are mandated to have flood insurance, are along the coast. But Flood Insurance policies do apply to some areas in Aroostook County.
So you’ve got a business or home, and it’s near a flood zone. You’ll typically end up seeing the code enforcement officer in your town who will pull up a set of maps. Those maps will show the most likely zones to be flooded, the least likely zones, and the no hazard zones.
Fort Fairfield Code Enforcement officer Tony Levesque says, “once that determination is made, then they would be forced or mandated if they’re in flood plane, to seek insurance from an insurance company and then they would be rated based on their proximity and their elevation.”
Levesque says in Fort Fairfield at one point, they had over 85 flood insurance policies in the town. That was after the flood of 1994.
Levesque, about that time we started purchasing homes that were repetitive loss structures. And we moves some out of the hazard zones and we built a dike, a levy so to speak to protect those that we could not purchase.”
Right now, there are no mandated flood policies in Fort Fairfield because nobody is located in a known flood hazard zone. Because of the dike that was built, Fort Fairfield residents would receive a cheaper preferred rate if they were mandated to get insurance.
Penny Johnston, Account Manager at H.O Perry & Son Insurance in Fort Fairfield says, “the deductibles remain the same, there would be 1 thousand deductible on the building, and 1 thousand deductible on the contents, so you’re looking at a 2 thousand deductible.”
One thing to note, is that the policy doesn’t kick in right away, Johnston says no matter where you live, there’s a 30 day wait unless there’s a loan closing which would make the policy effective the day after.
Levesque says, “we are part of a community rating system, which is part of the national flood insurance program under the ISO, and that gives them a 10 percent discount because of all of our mitigation efforts, and all of our preparation efforts.”
And speaking of preparation, Fort Fairfield has met with multiple agencies earlier this month, to assess the ice and river conditions and work on plan of action if flooding does occur this year.