EBR homeowners face potential flood insurance rate hike

Jefferson Terrace and Claycut Bayou
Jefferson Terrace and Claycut Bayou
Inniswold Estates
Inniswold Estates

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Some homeowners in East Baton Rouge Parish are shocked by the possibility of a flood insurance rate hike.

A new federal law, passed in 2012, called for new flood zones. It put a large portion of the parish in line for rate increases.

The Inniswold Estates/Jefferson Terrace neighborhood is a quiet, quaint area of East Baton Rouge Parish. People who live there said it's a peaceful escape from the busy city life.

"We like the neighborhood. This is a great neighborhood," Jerry Monier said.

When Jerry Monier moved there seven years ago he had to buy flood insurance. He said his annual premium runs roughly $2,400.

While it's never flooded there, a new federal law known as the Biggert-Waters Act, has translated into a steep rate hike for some homeowners.

Monier said the estimates he got from his insurance agent hit him hard.

"We're looking at a potential over a five year period from $5,900 to $6,000 in flood insurance premiums," Monier said.

According to the flood maps created by the LSU AG Center, the blue shaded areas represent flood zones. A third of the homes near the Claycut Bayou, located behind the subdivision, face a potential rate hike.

President of the neighborhood civic association, Lois LeBlanc, said some homeowners are just learning about the possible risks associated with the increase.

"You have to be planning for these increases, especially if you're going to put your house on the market. That would certainly have an effect," LeBlanc said.

Monier said he's contacted his councilman, Ryan Heck. But, he said, the response has not been encouraging.

"The one recommendation that he provided to me was to sell my home, and I don't think that's fair," Monier said.

Monier fears if something is not done to persuade congress to amend the new law, it could change the makeup of his neighborhood.

"We want to stay here. We're going to figure out how to scrape up $6,000 to stay here. It's a great community to be in," Monier said.

Councilman Heck said he and other council members are working diligently to find possible solutions to the federal rate hike. But at this point, he said, the hands of the local government are tied.

Click here to see the LSU Ag Center flood maps: http://bit.ly/GM0DYH

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