Future flood insurance options

HANCOCK — Prior to the Father’s Day flood, many who were ultimately impacted were unable to obtain flood insurance, a problem local municipalities are looking into solving.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has an offering that may be able to help if a similar disaster strikes the area again. Known as the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), affordability and mitigation are the major selling points, according to their website.

Residents were previously unable to access the insurance program because it requires the municipality to opt-in for residents to purchase flood insurance. The City of Hancock and Village of South Range are currently investigating joining the program so residents will have the option in the future.

For the municipalities, joining requires adoption of an ordinance but has no cost to them.

“By adopting an ordinance…any property owner in the municipality would then be eligible to get flood insurance optionally if they wish to,” said City Manager Glenn Anderson.

Anderson raised the NFIP as a solution at the Wednesday council meeting, though no action was taken then there is interest.

FEMA has been reaching out to local governments about the program following area damages, he explained.

By joining the program the region would be committing to the Michigan building ordinance, which is already enforced by Houghton County, Anderson said.

The NFIP says the program also encourages “communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations,” to aid with mitigation. By using an also optional Community Rating System (CRS) community flood mitigation work can translate to lower insurance costs to the property owners in the area.

The program is available to property owners, renters and businesses.

When getting an NFIP policy residents can go through a participating insurance agency or the NFIP Help Center at 800-427-4661.

However, everything hinges on if a municipality joins the program. Further developments are expected in the coming months.