Flood insurance rates to rise for many under new system

U.S. flood insurance rates to rise for 77% of policyholders -study | Reuters

Tens of thousands of property owners in Massachusetts could be hit with higher flood insurance premiums under a new federal rating system that anticipates increased flooding and storms fueled by climate change.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees the national flood insurance program, implemented a new rating system last month that it claims will more accurately reflect the risks of flooding to set annual insurance premiums.

FEMA points out that nearly 40% of the 60,000 flood insurance policyholders in Massachusetts will pay less under the new rating system.

But policyholders in some communities miles away from the coastline, such as Lawrence and Haverhill, could see big increases.

Local elected officials say the rate hikes will hurt businesses and homeowners struggling to recover from the pandemic.

“I understand that insurance rates need to go up, but not by seven times the amount they were a year ago,” said state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, whose district straddles the flood-prone Merrimack River. “I question the timing and the size of these increases. I just don’t think it’s warranted.”

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