(January 12, 2002) -- As previously reported by LBReport.com, FEMA has ended its mandatory flood insurance zone imposed in parts of ELB and NLB in July, 1998.
Property owners in these parts of ELB (generally E. of Lakewood Blvd. & E. (or N.) of PCH) and NLB (generally N. of San Antonio) are no longer federally required to buy FEMA's flood insurance if they have federally backed loans on their property.
If you're in one of the removed areas (marked in red on the quick reference maps below), you're free of the federal "flood tax" mandate...BUT...there are several steps you must take to get the insurance requirement dropped from your federally backed loan and a refund of your final premium paid. (That's if you want to end your flood insurance coverage; you may choose to keep it since homeowner's insurance does not cover flood damage.)
First, do not just cancel your policy or let your policy lapse, or you might jeopardize your ability to qualify for the refund. Follow the specific steps required. If your next flood insurance premium comes due in May or June (as many do), you have some time to act, but if your renewal comes sooner, you'll have to move more quickly.
FEMA says many affected property owners should be eligible for a refund of their 2001 flood insurance premium if their policies were issued by the National Flood Insurance Program in response to a lender's requirement for flood insurance. Under FEMA's rules, homeowners can request a refund of their final flood insurance premium paid for the policy year in which FEMA revises its flood risk maps.
Here's a summary of the process (with details following below):
Affected property owners who ask for and obtain their lender's written permission can cancel their flood insurance coverage;
Property owners who meet federal eligibility criteria qualify for a one-year refund of their flood insurance premium;
Although the federal government no longer requires flood insurance in these affected areas, property owners must continue to carry the coverage until (1) they request from their lender, in writing, a release form the flood insurance mandate and (2) their lender provides them with a written waiver from the flood insurance purchase requirement.
In either case, there are specific steps property owners must take. They're burdensome, they're required by the feds (not by City Hall or us) and there's really no way to avoid them.
As a public service, LBReport.com has posted on a link below a printable version (pdf format) of FEMA's "Letter of Map Revision," the legal document that you'll need to start the process of requesting your refund. (Tell your friends about LBReport.com and they'll thank you.)
The FEMA document revises FEMA's flood maps to remove the areas were designated at 100 year flood risk in July, 1998. We have posted it in printable pdf form at FEMA Letter of Map Revision, effective Jan. 11, 2002. (3 pages, approx. 380 kB.) We suggest saving it and printing it later. (If you have trouble viewing or printing this, please email us at "firstname.lastname@example.org")
Armed with this FEMA document, you can begin the process of attempting to cancel your flood insurance coverage (if you wish) and trying to get a refund for the last premium paid.
We've posted a link to a useful City Hall produced flood insurance information page which includes a list of upcoming community meetings on flood insurance, plus an address lookup feature and a link to a "How to" guide on the proper procedure to cancel one's flood insurance. Clicking on the following link should open a separate window to this page; to return to LBReport.com, simply close the City Hall window.
City of LB flood insurance information page
We've also posted a link directly to the City Hall-prepared "How To" guide. Clicking on the following link should open a separate window; to return here, just close the "How to" guide window) at: How To Cancel Your Flood Insurance Policy
City Hall plans to mail the "How To" guide and additional information in packets to roughly 38,000 property owners affected. The packets will include the cover page (the required part) of FEMA's Letter, the How To guide and other materials.
The City of LB is not legally required to conduct a public information campaign, and many cities don't (leaving property owners to fend for themselves.)
In addition to holding outreach community meetings, the City is providing information in "The Wave" (the publication included in utility tax bills), telecasting info on Cable Channel 21 in addition to the materials posted on the City Hall's web site (www.ci.long-beach.ca.us).
And City Hall has also set up a telephone hotline: (562) 570-6784.