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opinion | William Keating

Flawed science behind flood maps

the Federal Emergency Management Agency has released its new flood-zone maps for communities across the country, including Massachusetts. As a result, the Murphy family in Wareham is seeing their flood insurance premiums go from $500 to $5,000 a year. Anthony Frangie, a realtor on the South Shore, has seen multiple home sales fall through because the new flood-insurance premiums on homes in coastal communities are too high. Matt and Erin Rodenhiser of Quincy are a couple looking to buy a new home for their young family, but have had to walk away from homes they loved on more than one occasion simply because the newly inflated flood-insurance rate has priced them out.

Last year, the owners of Haddad’s Ocean Café in Marshfield renovated their restaurant to meet the then-current flood requirements, going above and beyond what was needed. Today, with the new maps, they must either pay millions of dollars for additional renovations to raise their building even higher or pay flood insurance premiums — upwards of $30,000 a year. And my office has received numerous calls from residents who are afraid they may lose their homes because their flood insurance premiums have increased by tens of thousands of dollars. These are just a few examples of the challenges associated with the new flood-insurance program.

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