Donovan: Army Corps Seawall Will Reduce Flood Insurance Premiums
Staten Island, NY – October 29, 2017….Congressman Dan Donovan (NY-11) hosted a roundtable discussion this morning with FEMA Deputy Associate Administrator for Insurance and Mitigation Roy Wright, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers New York District Commander Col. Thomas D. Asbery, and other officials to collaborate on the planned seawall for Staten Island’s east shore.
The $620 million project, which is currently in design phase, will provide flood protection from Fort Wadsworth to Oakwood Beach. The Corps’ design will defend against a 300-year flood, which is a higher level than Staten Island experienced during Superstorm Sandy. At this morning’s meeting, Congressman Donovan, Deputy Associate Administrator Wright, and Col. Asbery discussed the project at length.
Donovan said, “Mr. Wright and Col. Asbery came to Staten Island on a rainy Sunday morning at my invitation because this seawall is so incredibly important to thousands of Staten Island families. Not only will it reduce risk to life and property, we confirmed this morning that it will lower flood insurance premiums as well. This morning’s meeting was incredibly productive, and I look forward to our continued collaboration as the project advances.”
Wright explained that FEMA will reduce flood insurance premiums on an ongoing basis as the project progresses, especially once it meets the critical 50% completion threshold. Once the seawall is finished, FEMA will fully redraw the flood maps for the area, reducing the number of homes in the high-risk zone for which flood insurance coverage is mandatory. Owners of homes that are outside of the high-risk zone can choose to purchase flood insurance coverage for substantially reduced prices, as low as several hundred dollars per year. The Corps plans to continue designing the 5-mile long line of protection through next year, and begin construction in 2019.
After the meeting, Donovan and Wright drove through New Dorp Beach to show Wright the challenges associated with elevating attached homes. In general, elevation is the only option homeowners have to substantially reduce their insurance premiums, but attached structures (for example, the homes in Cedar Grove Court) cannot be elevated. Donovan has asked FEMA to work on a list of alternative mitigation options that can reduce flood risk and insurance premiums.
Donovan concluded, “I thank Deputy Associate Administrator Wright to traveling up here from Washington, DC. Our time together was productive and informative, and he understands the unique challenges Staten Island faces.”