Storm Sandwich After

This Enterprise file photograph shows flooding near homes along Town Neck Road.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has made changes in the way it determines a property’s flood risk for the National Flood Insurance Program.

The changes have impacted insurance rates across the Cape, with some homeowners seeing a cost increase but others realizing a substantial savings.

The new rating system, called Risk Rating 2.0-Equity in Action, is intended to provide insurance rates that are equitable.

“It transforms a pricing methodology that has not been updated in 50 years by leveraging improved technology and FEMA’s enhanced understanding of flood risk,” a press release from FEMA states.

Under the former system, people who had lower-value homes had been paying more than their share of the risk while people owning higher-value homes were paying less than their share, according to FEMA.

The new methodology takes into account how much it would cost to rebuild a home while also taking into account flood frequency, different types of flooding (such as storm surge, heavy rainfall and coastal erosion), distance to water and property elevation rather than just relying on flood zones to determine flood risk.

While the rating system has changed, existing statutory limits on rate increases are not changing and will remain at no higher than 18 percent annually.

Residents of municipalities participating in the Community Rating System will also continue to receive a discount. The Community Rating System is a program that municipalities can opt into to earn discounts on flood insurance. The rating of savings increases depends on different actions taken in a town or city.

For example, providing flood map information to residents, strictly enforcing coastal building regulations and protecting wetlands are ways that towns can improve their ratings. The better a town is rated, the bigger the discount on flood insurance residents receive.

Many towns on Cape Cod, including Sandwich and Mashpee, have elected to be part of the Community Rating System.

For Sandwich, this all translates into hundreds of homeowners seeing a flood insurance cost change.

More than half of East Sandwich policyholders, totaling 109 policies, will have lower premiums as a result of the changes. Of the remaining policies in the 02537 ZIP code, 92 will see increases of up to $10, two will be increased by $10 to $20, and four will increase by more than $20.

In the 02563 ZIP code, 45 policies will show premium decreases. The majority of policies (93) in this ZIP code will increase by up to $10. Four will increase by $10 to $20 and seven will increase by more than $20.

All nine policies held by Forestdale residents will increase by up to $10.

FEMA advises anyone with questions about their own policy to contact their insurance company.

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