Flood insurance rates dip

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY -- Work on the area's flood plain management program will translate in up to a 20 percent savings for people who have flood insurance, government officials say.

Speaking to the Dougherty County Commission Monday, Interim Planning Director Mary Teeter announced that Albany and Dougherty County will improve one level in the federal government's flood insurance program classification system and become one of only six communities throughout the state with a level six rating.

"This is just a good example of a good news for homeowners who have flood insurance," Dougherty County Chairman Jeff Sinyard said. "Between this and the change in our ISO levels, a lot of folks in the city and county will save money on their insurance."

Teeter said the change in classification will go into effect in May and that people who have flood insurance should contact their insurance agents to make sure they are getting the best rate.

Glenn Allen, a spokesman with Georgia Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner John Oxendine, said that while the office doesn't regulate the National Flood Insurance Program, it does suggest homeowners take advantage of the program.

Flood insurance is required by most lenders for homes in either the flood plain or the flood way, but is optional for everyone else.

Allen recommended that homeowners who are curious about flood insurance go to the NFIP website at www.floodsmart.gov for more information.

Teeter said that the change in classification levels is due, in large part, to changes undertaken that have refocused attention on regulatory requirements and have improved the size, maintenance and upkeep of the local drainage systems.

In all, 32 communities in Georgia participate in the program, with only six at a class six or higher. No community in the state is a five or higher.