CLINTON, Miss. -- Under the National Flood Insurance Program, Mississippians who bought flood insurance that was in effect at least 30 days before the flooding began, may qualify for the Increased Cost of Compliance provision included in their flood policies to help mitigate substantially damaged buildings.
This ICC provision is written into all NFIP policies purchased or renewed since June 1, 1997. The program allows up to $30,000 to offset the costs of mitigating a home or business. The damaged structure must be in a high-risk flood zone, such as an "A" or “AE” zone, and the total claim, including the ICC funds, cannot exceed the policy maximum.
"The ICC provision is a great resource for Mississippians who happen to need it," said Mississippi Emergency Management Agency Director Mike Womack.
ICC claims are adjusted separately from flood damage claims. Homeowners and businesses can file an ICC claim if there is "substantial flood damage" or "repetitive damage" as determined by the appropriate local government agency and the structure is not compliant with the local ordinance. This assessment is made when the owner applies for a permit to make repairs. Once the local government has confirmed damage is substantial or repetitive, and the lowest floor elevation doesn’t meet local elevation requirements, the policyholder should call his or her insurance agent to file an ICC claim.
"The ICC provision will make it more likely policy holders are financially able to take steps to reduce flood losses in the future," said Federal Coordinating Officer Terry L. Quarles of the Federal Emergency Management Agency which manages NFIP. "The funds may not cover all the costs of upgrading or moving a structure but policy holders who take advantage of the provision, will make their home or business more secure."
Substantial damage is defined as a structure requiring repairs that will cost 50 percent or more of the building's pre-flood market value. Repetitive damage means the property had flood damage at least twice in the past 10 years and repair costs for each event were 25 percent or more of its market value at the time of flooding.
ICC coverage can help pay for such mitigation measures as:
- Floodproofing: Makes a structure watertight to a level 1 foot above the Base Flood Elevation or whatever level a local community requires, and able to withstand the stresses imposed by floodwaters. Floodproofing is only available on commercial structures, not residential. Usually floodproofing involves such techniques as installing watertight shields for doors and windows, drainage collection systems, sump pumps and check valves, etc. Check with local officials for more ideas.
- Relocation: Moving an entire structure to another location on the same lot or to another lot, usually outside of a floodplain. The advantage of relocation is that it offers the greatest protection from future flooding, provided that the relocation is not in a high-risk flood area.
- Elevation: Raising a building to, or above, the Base Flood Elevation in accordance with local requirements. The advantage of elevating is that the lowest floor of a structure is higher than the flood level expected in an area in any given year.
- Demolition: Tearing down a structure that is too flood-damaged to repair, elevate or relocate. The advantage of demolishing a heavily damaged structure is that it provides an opportunity to rebuild using the same lot, as long as allowed by local code requirements. In the case of non-residential structures such as commercial buildings, ICC money can pay for elevation, relocation, demolition and one additional feature: floodproofing.
For more information on how to buy a flood insurance policy or on ICC coverage, call the NFIP at 888-435-6637 or go on...