FEMA Flood Map Woes - My9 New Jersey

FEMA Flood Map Woes

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Highlands, New Jersey (My9NJ) - Almost two years after Superstorm Sandy, all that Jersey Shore residents have heard is “rebuild, rebuild, rebuild”, but that doesn't seem to be as easy as it sounds.

Highlands, New Jersey resident Claudette D’Arrigo is trying to rebuild her home. She raised her house 15.9 feet, which is above the advisory based standards FEMA has set and which the town has approved. D’Arrigo assumed she was doing everything right in rebuilding her home, until she received a bill from her flood insurance company of $34,000.

"We were initially told, our flood insurance would go down to about $650 dollars a year so we were expecting that. When I sent over my flood certification back in February, when we moved in and everything was completed, I expected it to go down and get a rebate on my flood insurance. Instead, I got the bill that it would be at least $32,000 dollars," D’Arrigo stated.

Patrick Breslin, a spokesman for NJM Insurance Group, has been advocating on behalf of the policy holder on this unusual case where her premium would be significantly less under FEMA’s proposed flood map.

“Given the circumstances, we have asked FEMA to consider extending some type of waiver for Ms. D’Arrigo, but they have indicated that until a new map is officially adopted, the premium based on the current map must apply,” Breslin stated.

The explanation is that the new adopted flood maps will not be signed until August 4 and until they are signed, D’Arrigo is technically still in a velocity zone, which will change once the new map is approved. As a result, D’Arrigo will end up being charged $34,000 between June 16 and August 4th until the new maps are signed.

“On August 4, when the adopted bill is signed, I can go in and request the balance back for the seven-weeks they will charge me $6,000 for insurance. I don’t see how I’ll even get it back. I can’t get money for insurance as it is, let alone for an insurance reimbursement that I am paying for ahead of time,” D’Arrigo said.

D’Arrigo has already put more than $300,000 into rebuilding her home, and will now have to pay $34,000 more for a FEMA map mishap.


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