Flood insurance premiums set to spike for 20,000+ policyholders in Lafayette Parish

A truck pushes wakes of water during caused by flash flooding in May 2021. Photo by Travis Gauthier

The gist: Changes set to go in effect Oct. 1 will increase rates for more than 80% of National Flood Insurance Program policy holders in Lafayette Parish. Premiums will now be assessed based on flood risk for individual properties, not flood zone maps.

20,965 policies in Lafayette Parish will spike, according to data provided by FEMA, which oversees the NFIP. Most of those policies will see adjustments of up to $10 each year. You can see price increases by zip code for all of Louisiana here.

Risk Rating 2.0 is intended to right-size the flood insurance program. The NFIP spends far more on claims than it receives in premiums. More than $290 million in NFIP claims have been filed in Louisiana so far in 2021, more than half the total value of claims nationally.

FEMA has billed the program as “equity in action.” By individualizing risk, officials say, the approach will more accurately reflect the cost of insuring properties that flood frequently. Upwards of 75% of policyholders will see rate reductions nationally, according to FEMA. But the opposite is true for Louisiana and Lafayette Parish. Some 87% of premiums in Lafayette Parish will climb once the new assessment takes effect.

Premiums on 97% of policies in 70503 and 70508 will increase. Both of those zip codes cover wide sections of south Lafayette. There are 7,230 policies active in those areas.

Zip CodePremium Increase
The percentage of policies expected to see premium increases, sorted by zip code:

Flood risk is rising. Increased urbanization and climate change are driving more frequent flooding in Lafayette Parish, and the area is poised to see more rising water in the future. Most increases will be capped at 18% each year, according to a FEMA press release. New development standards adopted by LCG after the 2016 storm contributed to lower flood insurance premiums parishwide.

Louisiana’s congressional delegation has pushed for a delay. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy asked the Biden administration to pause implementation to spare adding expense to families recovering from Hurricane Ida. Hundreds of thousands of people have filed for individual assistance with FEMA, and 8,600 have filed flood insurance claims related to Ida across the Gulf South. An estimated 25,000 people are still displaced.

What’s next? The Oct.1 phase-in of the program, which has been delayed several times since surfacing in 2019, will cover new policies only. Renewed policies will be calculated on the new rating method after April 1.