Muscatine County Levee Gets Accredited, Flood Insurance Savings - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Muscatine County Levee Gets Accredited, Flood Insurance Savings Potentially On Way

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Last week President Obama signed a bill reforming flood insurance.

The law places an 18 percent limit on most flood insurance premium increases.

It also slowly phases in rate increases on properties paying subsidized rates.

The reform fixes immediate, sharp increases on flood insurance premiums TV-6 six investigated earlier this year.

Muscatine County is also fixing some flood insurance issues with a levee.

After Hurricane Katrina, FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers began taking a harder look at this country's levee system.

The agencies wanted to make sure the levees were actually going to do what they're supposed to, protect property from flood water.

One levee in Muscatine County got caught up in a paperwork mishap back in 2011.

The Muscatine Island levee wasn't able to get accredited, meaning people living behind it didn't get any credit for the levee.

"I have no need for it, because as far as I know there's never been a flood in this area, and I don't expect one," says homeowner Kevin Douglas.

He's been in his home for the last 20 years. In all that time, he didn't have to buy flood insurance until two years ago. Then, all of a sudden, he did.

"It's just a big hassle because you've got to save extra money that you weren't planning on," says Douglas.

His insurance agent fought the insurance requirement, but found no way around it. Douglas has paid $1,500 in flood premiums the last two years. It's a bill he may soon be able to get rid of.

Without the FEMA accreditation, the levee would technically not exist on a flood map, so all the properties it would be protecting would be mapped in a flood area, as opposed to how they're mapped now, which is behind a levee and at a much reduced risk of flooding.

Muscatine County Zoning Administrator Jodee Stepleton says, "If it doesn't get 'em completely out of the flood plain it can definitely lower their flood insurance, which is a bonus all the way around."

She isn't sure why the levee was unaccredited. She traces the problem back to 2011, when Iowa asked for some paperwork.

"They didn't have the documentation at that point in time," says Stepleton.

It left property owners paying for the missing pages. It's all fixed now, the new flood study is done, the maps are finished, all that's left is for the county board to wrap up voting.

"My grandparents lived here before we did, we just got ground and built, as far as I know the big flood in the 60's, there was still no water," says Douglas.

He plans to drop flood insurance as soon as the ink dries on the voting record.

The county board has two more votes to take on the updated maps and levee.

Everything needs to be done by mid April, to ensure FEMA recognizes the changes.

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