Those with less-damaged property were, for the most part, left to decide for themselves how to spend whatever insurance money they received. But altogether, 20 to 30 percent of the 33,000 city residents have yet to return to their homes, Mr. Kemins estimated. Some are abandoning their flood-prone first floors and adding another story on top, he said, or elevating the entire house. Others, like the Blumenfelds, are starting over and building higher. To date, some 200 households have applied for permits.
These are all expensive solutions, but they don’t seem nearly as expensive when you consider that under the Congressional Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, those who have houses that sit four or more feet below the local sea level threshold, or “base flood elevation,” as FEMA refers to it, could have annual premiums rise to as much as $9,500 a year — for flood coverage alone. Houses raised well above the threshold, on the other hand, will generally pay less than $500.
In other words, punish the people whose homes haven’t been destroyed by jacking up their premiums, which is SO going to prevent future hurricanes and natural disasters. Could Congress be making like a circus seal for the insurance industry any harder?