Tony Mark of Charleston has won The Post and Courier's Golden Pen award for November for his letter to the editor "Beware of new flood insurance law."
Mr. Mark opened his letter with a notice from the Federal Emergency Management Agency website warning that due to a 2012 act of Congress, it would be raising flood insurance rates. As Mr. Mark wrote of that legislation's consequences:
"I am assisting a family member sell his house (valued at $240,000), and in doing so discovered the impact of the Biggert-Waters change to the law with regard to flood coverage. ... Over the years the flood maps have been changed. My relative's property was built to code in 1978 within Flood Zone B and is now in Flood Zone VE. This did not affect the cost of his flood insurance, as the property was 'grandfathered' into the original flood zone designation. But as of Oct. 1, houses have to be insured within their current flood zone.
"This means that if you live in your house, you will have a 5 percent tax added to your renewal this year, and then every year going forward you will have your premium increased by 25 percent until you reach the 'full risk rate' for insurance."
And: "For the $240,000 coverage with a $2,000 deductible, the current 'full risk rate' is $46,406 a year."
The letter also warned: "If you want to sell your house, the existing flood insurance policy is not transferable any more."
The letter concluded: "Congress is considering a four-year delay for implementing the law, but that is not a solution as the nightmare will be upon us again.
"Contact your state and federal representatives and demand changes to this law or allow lenders to accept private flood policies immediately."
Golden Pen winners are invited to an annual luncheon with the editorial staff.
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