By MADDY VITALE
Ocean City is helping residents with questions about their flood insurance rating and, in turn, will help the community save money, while also making sure their homes are properly elevated and insured.
Currently, the city holds a Level 4 community rating in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System. The rating allows for discounts on homeowners’ flood insurance. The city’s goal is to achieve a Level 3 rating for a bigger discount.
Flood insurance will be the topic of a virtual meeting that the city will host on Wednesday, Oct. 14, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. The meeting is being sponsored by a flood risk evaluator as well as a local insurance agent, Tom Heist of Heist Insurance Agency in Ocean City.
In addition to the evaluator and Heist, there will be other insurance agents, the city’s floodplain manager and engineers in attendance at the virtual meeting. They will help to review documentation about the residents’ homes to make sure they are being properly rated, according to a city memo.
Residents are asked to have their elevation certificates flood insurance declaration page and two photos of the exterior of the home to be evaluated.
“The virtual meeting will provide an important service to anybody with questions about their flood insurance rating. It also will help almost all policy holders in Ocean City as we work toward achieving Level 3 in the National Flood Insurance Program’s Community Rating System (CRS),” Ocean City Public Information Officer Doug Bergen explained on Friday.
He noted that at Level 4, all NFIP policy holders with compliant structures in Ocean City would receive a 30 percent discount on their flood insurance.
“That rating means Ocean City’s 16,729 policy holders collectively save $3,961,169 every year – an average savings of about $245 per participating home. Only three New Jersey communities have currently achieved Class 4 or better,” Bergen said.
Heist said in an interview Friday that he is looking forward to listening to homeowners and offering his advice during the virtual meeting.
“We want to make people aware of their options so that they get the best price. We don’t want a situation where the prices for insurance get too high where people feel as if they have to move,” Heist said.
Heist offered a prime example of why it is vital that a homeowner knows all they can about flood insurance and ratings.
Heist advised a client that she should take a photo of her home to send to the insurance company to show that while the home was built in 1974, it was in fact elevated and should qualify for a discount.
After the homeowner informed her flood insurance company and sent in the required paperwork for a $400 fee, her insurance went down from $2,400 a year to $900.
“Consumers have more choices than ever before and understanding your risk and mitigation options is the best way to get the lowest price available,” Heist said. “Listen in to learn if you can get a lower price, too.”
All of Ocean City is located within a floodplain. The city continues to work toward improving flood protection.
Mayor Jay Gillian and his administration have been working toward mitigating flooding on the island with a host of projects to improve drainage by replacing antiquated infrastructure and building new stormwater pumping stations.
To listen in on the virtual meeting Oct. 14 or to view it on Zoom:
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