National flood insurance could become available

By Lillian Bowe
Staff writer

Roosevelt County residents may soon be able to purchase flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program at a lower rate than going through a private company according to Christopher Wood, branch manager of Frost Mortgage Banking Group in Portales.
The Roosevelt County Commissioners voted to apply to enroll in the NFIP, which is offered by Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), at their Tuesday meeting.
NFIP is a voluntary program for communities, which allows property owners to purchase flood insurance.

Wood said property owners who have a mortgage with a federal bank are required to purchase flood insurance, but the only option homeowners currently have is going through a private insurance company to obtain insurance.
Wood said there has been some negative feedback about the program, but he said he believes it does not outweigh the benefits.
“Some people who oppose this say that it is an overreach of government and it is restricting us more, but it’s a benefit to control flooding,” Wood said.

When communities apply for the NFIP, the county must appoint a person responsible for administering a floodplain management program which will set out regulations to reduce future flood damage.
Johnny Montiel with the county’s rural addressing office presented the application, saying he wanted input from the commissioners on whether or not the county should apply.
County Commission Chair Kendell Buzard said the county would benefit and should apply for the program.

Charlene Webb, former county manager, said FEMA came out and mapped the Portales and Roosevelt County area to determine flood zones in 2011, but it was not completed. This has caused problems for housing development as loans for housing cannot be distributed without a completed flood map.
Troy Hinton, a real estate agent at Homespot in Portales, said the county could get loans to develop homes from the United States Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program, but since the county has no flood map, the program will not allow it.

Hinton said now that the county is planning to join the program, it will be a benefit but one of the drawbacks for homeowners who live in a floodplain is that they will be required to pay for the insurance.
“I consider it a good thing overall,” Hinton said.