GeoCarta Has Moved

Feb 12, 2006

Flood Map Error Soaks Omaha Residents With Costs

Hundreds of homeowners in Omaha, Nebraska, have been told by their mortgage companies that they must obtain flood insurance, insurance they say they don't need. The situation arose after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) updated its flood insurance maps. Station WOWT reports that the City of Omaha says FEMA made a mistake, including hundreds and perhaps more than 1,000 properties in the flood plain that, in fact, are not.

According to the station, FEMA admits the mistake and says the maps were corrected in a matter of days. Unfortunately, that correction didn't come before lenders found out that properties they had mortgages on had been placed in the flood plain. Those lenders have now told Omaha homeowners that they have to buy flood insurance and that if they don't, their mortgage company will buy it for them, at, in some cases, twice the usual rate.

FEMA says anyone that buys flood insurance they ultimately don't need will get a refund. But that's little consolation for homeowners facing the out-of-pocket expense. City officials told the station that they are working with FEMA to resolve the problem.