Community News - Latest

Cutler Bay

Cutler Bay to hold meeting on rising flood-insurance rates


For more information

To learn more about the new federal flood-insurance law, visit

Special to the Miami Herald

Cutler Bay officials are looking for residents’ input as they work on a plan to reduce flooding in the town.

The town’s anti-flooding efforts come after last year’s passage of a new federal law governing flood insurance. The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act aims to reduce government subsidies that now pay part of the cost of flood insurance for many property owners. The law will not immediately affect primary residences, unless the homeowner moves, has a major claim, or changes insurance. Also, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, only about 20 percent of properties were subsidized to begin with.

“Homeowners who have lived in their home, are current with their flood insurance and do not let it lapse, will not see an impact,” said Sandra Cuervo, building and code compliance manager for the town of Cutler Bay. “But the moment that the homeowner doesn’t renew a flood policy and goes to get flood insurance again, they will see the true flood risk.”

But owners of vacation or investment homes, business properties with subsidized premiums, and properties with multiple large flood claims will see an increase of 25 percent in premium rates each year until those premiums reflect full-risk rates.

The town had formed a Flood Mitigation Plan Advisory Committee to try and offset the rate hikes by improving drainage.

Now, Cutler Bay property owners get a 20 percent discount based on the town’s rating of 6 under the FEMA’s Community Rating System, or CRS. If the rating lowers to 5, the new discount would be 25 percent and could be effective by the end of 2014.

“Because of all of the issues with flooding in the area, we were able to qualify for a grant to get a flood mitigation plan,” said Sandra Cuervo, building and code compliance manager for the town of Cutler Bay. “We need to figure out what we can do and what areas can be improved to mitigate any potential flood hazards.”

The five-member committee, which includes specialists in real estate, public works and insurance, will hold its first public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 24, at Town Hall, 10720 Caribbean Blvd.

More than 268,000 Florida homeowners will see in increase in flood insurance rates as a result of the act. Residents of older homes and residents of non-elevated structures will see the largest impact as they are at a higher level of flood risk.

“We want to analyze and determine what we are doing in CRS and what is going on as far as areas that have more prone to flooding and figure out what can be done and what kind of projects need to be spelled out and what we can do to reduce our flood risk.

“I think there are several goals,” Cuervo said. “It will tie in to CRS and try to see if we can improve our rating so that our discount is higher but that is just one component. It’s how we can improve what we are doing right now so that we are not exposed. It’s about preparing and being able to plan short- and long-term for any flooding event.”

Read more Community News - Latest stories from the Miami Herald

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK