There’s no doubt the weather is changing. At Easter time, Hurricane Irene left many neighborhoods along the Eastern Seaboard under water. In September, Hurricane Isaac spawned a tornado off Long Beach.
Now the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has updated its flood-zone maps, designating certain New York City locales as high-risk zones. Apartment dwellers and other residents of Manhattan and Jersey City are joining the ranks of Queens, Staten Island and the Hamptons where banks are beginning to insist that even condo purchasers obtain flood insurance underwritten by FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program when securing a mortgage.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the Bank of America denied a mortgage to a prospective buyer of a fifth-floor unit in a Tribeca condo even though the building itself was already insured against natural hazards by Lloyd’s of London.
Similar scenarios are becoming increasingly common. A representative from the Bank of America told the Journal, “If a property proves to be in a flood plain, and there’s no reason to believe the FEMA map is wrong, we require flood insurance.”
According to that publication, the number of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program policies in New York City has increased 41% since 2007.