GREEN BAY – Tom Mann received his yearly flood insurance bill last week. It rose by nearly, to $1600.
"You said you're happy with that?" asked FOX 11’s Bill Miston.
"Well, I was afraid it was going to be more,” said Mann.
It was – until a federal law signed last week capped the yearly premium increases.
Someone who owns a home or business in a floodplain must be part of the National Flood Insurance Program. The rates recently doubled and tripled, but will now be capped at 18 percent a year for homeowners; 25 percent for businesses and people who own a second home.
"I'm afraid that it's going to go right up to $5,000 within five years," said Mann, whose house is near the Bay and within Green Bay’s floodplain.
Mann is also under contract to buy the property next door. That means another flood insurance bill for – ironically enough – the insurance agent.
"I don't know how anybody could buy a home, knowing that they almost have a second property tax bill," said Mann.
Some real estate agents FOX 11’s Bill Miston spoke with didn't want to go on camera, but say their major concern is how they'll be able to sell properties in flood-prone areas.
Banks often require the insurance.
The yearly rate increases are to help pay off the flood program's $24 billion debt. Catastrophes, like Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy are partly to blame.
For those who will take a hit because of the federal guidelines, there may be some help.
"We're here to assist them in understanding if their property is in or out and the opportunities they can do to follow up and maybe get a reduced premium, possibly," said Green Bay city planner Paul Neumeyer.
Ten percent of the state's homes and businesses in the federal flood program are in Green Bay. According to FEMA data, that's the most of any city in the state.