FEMA to redraw NYC flood maps after de Blasio appeal

Change could lower insurance bill for many New Yorkers

Flooding in the New York City Subway due to Hurricane Sandy (credit: vcohen)
Flooding in the New York City Subway due to Hurricane Sandy (credit: vcohen)

Fewer New Yorker may be forced to buy flood insurance in the future, thanks to an appeal by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.

The Mayor’s office asked the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to redraw New York City’s flood maps, arguing that they are too pessimistic, and the agency agreed to do so.

“Our city needs precise flood maps that reflect real risks, both today and years from now—and we have to do that fairly,” de Blasio said in a statement.

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The new maps will likely shrink the boundaries that determine who is required to buy flood insurance.

Shortly after Hurricane Sandy hit New York in October 2012, FEMA redrew the city’s flood maps for the first time, doubling the number of homes that required the purchase of flood insurance to qualify for federally-backed mortgages. Meanwhile, the 2012 Biggers-Waters Act had ended a de-facto federal subsidy of flood insurance, causing premiums to rise dramatically.

The agency will now analyze flood data to draw new maps. Until that’s done, insurance rules will be based on 2007 flood maps and construction will be based on 2015 maps, Crain’s reported. [Crain’s] — Konrad Putzier