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FEMA Error Resulting in High Insurance Premiums for Oceanfront Owners


Ocean City, MD, officials found out about an apparent error in federal flood zone mapping that is causing some serious issues with insurance.

The error has caused many oceanfront property owners to have hundreds of thousands of dollars in flood insurance premiums.

According to Ocean City Today, between 93rd and 123rd Streets, many condominiums are facing these spiked insurance rates because of the flood mapping error and dune placement issues.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has recently — and incorrectly — included segments of oceanfront properties in a high-risk zone on a flood insurance rate map online.

The website that stored the interactive map is used by several other third-party analysts, which resulted in property owners seeing thousand-dollar insurance increases.

“We have one condo, the Rainbow, that was quoted at a premium of $460,000 for the year,” Joe Groves, President of the Delmarva Condominium Mangers Association, said.

When the Rainbow was built in 1993, it was required that a dune be build for flood protection; in the last two decades, the Army Corps of Engineers added a second dune. The placement of these dunes is leading to the misunderstanding between FEMA and the city.

“We were able to scale off from Coastal Highway and confirmed where the storm velocity line was — at the landward toe of the primary frontal dune,” Terry McGean, Ocean City engineer, said.

It took months for any Ocean City officials to recognize any mistakes made.

The Dispatch reports that State Senator Jim Mathias recently reached out to congressional leadership about interceding on behalf of the resorts.

“For many years, we’ve worked effectively with our state and federal partners to protect Ocean City and its citizens from storms and flooding through our beach replenishment program, Mathias said. “Unfortunately, this FEMA error vacates so much of our good work.”

Many of these highly-populated beaches can draw more than 1.5 million people in a single day, include area condo owners.

McGean commented on what’s to come of the issue. “I look forward to working with them for a successful solution to this urgent matter so that we’re able to provide the correct and appropriately priced insurance premiums for the protection of our oceanfront community.”

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