Talk in Wareham focused on lowering rising flood insurance rates

By Matthew Bernat | Jun 04, 2018
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Peter Allen of Smart Vent Products/Flood Risk Evaluators speaks at a presentation on reducing flood insurance rates held Monday.

Flood insurance rates are rising due to major changes made by Congress. On Monday, nearly 70 people packed Town Hall auditorium for tips on bringing those costs down.

“A foot and a half of water can crush a foundation,” said Peter Allen of Smart Vent Products/Flood Risk Evaluators. “It really doesn’t take much.”

Organized by Director of Inspectional Services David Riquinha, the event educated Wareham residents, who live in the floodplain, how to reduce insurance premiums.

Allen explained that major changes to the National Flood Insurance Program were made in 2012 via the Biggert-Waters Act Flood Insurance Reform Act. To rein in the taxpayer cost of the National Flood Insurance Program, Biggert-Waters dropped two key provisions that kept rates where they were. Flood insurance will no longer be subsidized by tax dollars for homes that pre-date the flood insurance program. And homes that met flood-zone requirements when they were built, but have since been placed in a higher risk flood zone, will no longer be “grandfathered” in to previous insurance rates.

Those changes are starting to kick in now, including premium hikes of between 18 to 25 percent annually until rates accurately reflect the risk of flooding.

With premiums rising, Allen discussed some steps residents could take to reduce their bills. He focused mostly on installing flood vents, which will lower the pressure on walls and foundations during a flood, reducing damage.

As an example, Allen said one homeowner his firm worked with paid a premium of $2,038 annually. After six flood vents were installed at a cost of $2,500, the premium dropped to $281. Some left unsatisfied with the presentation after learning only those without full basements could install vents for reduced premiums.

“It sounds like because we have a full basement we won’t be able to lower rates with the vents, and are wasting our time,” said one woman before leaving mid-presentation.

Allen also stressed the importance of getting an “elevation certificate.” That certificate determines how high flood waters could rise, which determines premium rates.

Afterwards, Allen met individually with attendees to answer additional questions. For more information on Allen’s company and possibly lowering premiums, visit


Comments (5)
Posted by: shop247 | Jun 05, 2018 05:36

So the town organized a sales pitch?

Posted by: Rosebud | Jun 05, 2018 10:10


This presentation may have been done by a private firm, but it made me aware of an option I would otherwise not have heard of.  Until recently, I had never heard of an elevation certificate.  Mr. Riquinha did what more public employees should do:  try to save the taxpayers money!  I for one appreciate the effort.  (I'm not related nor do I know Mr. Riquinha.)



Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 05, 2018 11:18

Don't hold your breath for that elevation certificate. We got one when we first purchased our home. We had to have the engineers and land surveyors at the property and they staked it all out. Cost over $ 1500 to have it all said and stamped...

Only to have things change within two years when FEMA revised the 100 year flood plan, deeming our certificate worthless.

Flood insurance is a joke. They won't cover items in your basement. Guess what's in most basements, all the expensive things like water heaters and boilers.

Posted by: bluebird | Jun 05, 2018 18:14

I realize what they are meaning, but I get a kick out of the statement that the changes in the Flood Insurance Program were to "rein in the taxpayer cost of the National Flood Insurance Program". How is raising premiums "reining in costs"??? Yes, as I say, I know they are refering to the costs covered by ALL taxpayers to reduce the cost to flood-prone homeowners, but that statement forgets that those flood-prone homeowners are also TAXPAYERS, and their costs will RISE. I always get a kick out of reading about how a State or Federal grant will reduce our costs for a local municipal project........ by using State or Federal Funds......ironically, those grants are still coming (indirectly) out of our own pockets.

Posted by: Cindy | Jun 06, 2018 07:30

I'm glad this was organized but disappointed it only focused on the product this gentleman sells.  Elevation certificates are  useful to your insurance company since having accurate elevation information on your house versus the flood zone you are in allows them to give you a much more accurate quote on your insurance and reduces the amount of annual increase you get if you are insured via the feds.  However, they are a double edged sword since you may find out your risk is higher than the insurance company thought and had you insured for.  There are other things you can do to mitigate your risk and lower your premiums.  You can opt to take all your mechanicals out of your basement and locate them in a closet on your first floor.  While that may cost you the fees of a plumber and electrician, not paying $1000 or $2000 or more annually (with annual increases) in flood insurance (or much more depending on your location) may be worth it.  There are private insurance companies writing flood insurance policies that you can explore that may be cheaper options than FEMA. In this robust real estate market, as a broker, I can tell you the homes that aren't selling are those that are in a flood zone and don't have flood insurance because the owners don't have a mortgage or dropped their plan once the mortgage was paid.  Big mistake.  They are much harder to sell and when a prospective buyer does his/her due diligence on a policy they run for the hills.

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