Jackson County residents are upset over a new federal flood insurance law
JACKSON COUNTY, Ill. - With flooding on many people's minds, folks are learning that their flood insurance could get more expensive. That’s because of a bill signed into law after Hurricane Katrina. It’s meant to help the government recoup funds by raising insurance premiums.
Under the new rules taking effect July 1st, insurance for a $100,000 home will jump from around $1,000 a year to $9,000...or even as high as $22,000 per year depending on how far the home is below flood level.
All over Jackson County there are neighborhoods with houses nestled at the base of the river.
Starting in July these homeowners will be slapped with a much higher insurance premium, and chances are, they are not even aware.
When Jackson County resident Jessica Fritsche found out about the new federal flood insurance policy, she devoted herself to informing others and figuring out a way to reverse it.
"I, as a homeowner, don't think that I can pay my mortgage for the next 15 years on a house that's going to be worth potentially, worth nothing," said Fritsche.
Frank Riley is the Jackson County Land Use and Economic Development Director.
He says even some insurance agents and bankers are not that well-versed on the law.
"There's a lot of bankers selling houses, doing financing for houses and they're not telling their clients," said Riley.
But Fritsche says the unsuspecting new homeowner will learn about the bill real quick.
"When they get a $25,000 bill, they're not going to be able to pay it. They're going to have to foreclose, their credit is going to be ruined," said Fritsche.
There are more than 100 homes in Jackson County that will be affected by the new law come July 1st.
"If this all happens, it could be economic devastation for a large chunk of real estate in Jackson County," said Riley.
Riley says it is crucial that people living on the flood plains, not just in Illinois, but across the country, write to their congressman to amend this law.
It is possible that one of the solutions to these insurance hikes is a buy-out.
It is still to early to say if the county can or would go that route, but it was proposed as an idea at Tuesday's open forum.