(BIVN) – Hawaii will continue to be protected under the National Flood Insurance Program, thanks to the signing of a crucial bill passed by the state legislature this session.
House Bill 1418, introduced by Mililani state representative Ryan Yamane, was signed by Governor Ige during a public signing ceremony July 3rd at the State Capitol.
Last year, National Flood Insurance Program officials told the state that it did not comply with federal flood insurance regulations and faced suspension from the program. According to Yamane, who is the chair of the House Water and Land committee, a proactive collaboration helped shepherd the bill through both legislative chambers in order to restore Hawaii’s eligibility in the program.
Besides the state, stakeholders included the four counties, the Federal Emergency Management Agency Region IX, Hawaii Farm Bureau, Hawaii Association of Realtors, and Hawaii’s insurers, banks, and builders.
In a later media release, Yamane thanked the Governor for signing the bill. The representative said, “For many of our residents their homes are the biggest single investment they own. Hawaii homeowners can trust that their federal flood insurance will remain in place to protect them from future flood disasters.”
“In the last 35 years that Hawaii has been participating in the program,” Yamane’s release states, “FEMA paid out 4,600 claims totaling over $87 million. Currently, there are over 60,000 flood insurance policies totaling over $13.4 billion throughout the state, which would have been cancelled without the bill.”
Meanwhile, the Hawaii County Department of Public Works has scheduled two informational public meetings for Hawaii County’s FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps. This county media release explains:
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is at the end of a multi-year effort to update and modernize the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) for Hawai‘i County. The FIRM has been finalized and will become effective on September 29, 2017. The opportunities to appeal the maps were over last year. The FIRM will help community officials better identify known flood risks and will be used for flood insurance, land use, development, and regulatory purposes. Use of the FIRM is required for the County’s participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which makes the County eligible for federal disaster aid in the event of a federally declared natural disaster.
The main purpose of these informational public meetings is:
To inform property owners, residents, and interested parties about the impacts the final Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) will have on flood insurance. It will help them make an informed decision about flood insurance options and flood protection measures. The details on the two informational public meetings are shown below:
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Aupuni Center Conference Room
101 Pauahi St., Suite 1
Hilo, HI 96720
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Thursday, July 13, 2017
West Hawaii Civic Center, Bldg. G
75-5044 Ane Keohokalole Hwy.
Kailua Kona, HI 96740
5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Doors open at 5:00 p.m.,
Two short formal presentations will start at 5:30 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
The meetings will be an open house format with multiple stations
(The stations will discuss a structure’s particular flood zone, flood insurance, building criteria, etc.)
Personnel from FEMA, State of Hawai‘i’s Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), and Hawai‘i County will be available to answer questions, concerns, and provide information on flood insurance and property specific flood zone determinations.
The final FIRMs are currently available for viewing at the Hawai‘i County Department of Public Works Engineering offices at either 101 Pauahi St., Suite 7 in Hilo (808 961-8327) or 74-5044 Ane Keohokālole Hwy., Building D, 1st floor of the West Hawai‘i Civic Center in Kona (808 323-4850). They are also available for online viewing on the State of Hawai‘i’s Flood Hazard Assessment Tool (FHAT) at gis.hawaiinfip.org/fhat. To learn how to view the preliminary maps using the FHAT, click on the tutorial link provided on the Hawai‘i NFIP Website dlnreng.hawaii.gov/nfip/.
Be advised that flood insurance rates will be based on the new flood data. If a property is mapped into a high-risk area (an SFHA labeled with letters starting with “A” or “V”) on the new FIRM and the owner has a mortgage through a federally regulated or insured lender, flood insurance will be required when the FIRM becomes effective. Property owners who obtain flood insurance before the FIRM becomes effective may be able to benefit from the NFIP’s “grandfathering” insurance rating process and pay a lower premium.
Everyone is at some risk from flooding, even those behind levees or in low or medium-risk areas. Therefore, FEMA encourages everyone to purchase flood insurance. Property owners should contact their insurance agent or visit www.FloodSmart.gov for more information.
If you require special accommodations or auxiliary aid/ and or services to participate in this meeting, (i.e. Sign language interpreter, large print,) please call (808) 961-8321 by July 10, 2017.
For more information call Barett Otani, Department of Public Works Information and Education Specialist at (808) 961-8787.