The Free Press, Mankato, MN

State, national news

March 24, 2014

Spike in flood insurance premiums hits Roseau hard

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — No Minnesota community has been affected more by the nationwide spike in flood insurance premiums than the far northwestern city of Roseau, where the specter of rates rising by as much as $400 a month has just about dried up the local housing market.

In the town of 2,600 residents, where the leading employer Polaris Industries is hiring, the real estate market should be booming.

Nearly the entire community lies within the Roseau River flood plain, hard-hit by a major flood in 2002, so mortgage lenders require purchasers to take out flood insurance. Last fall, people shopping for flood insurance and holders of policies coming up for renewal started getting premium quotes of $3,000 to $4,000 a year or more.

"The market's at a standstill," Roseau mortgage consultant Andy Jensen said.

After howls of protests, President Barack Obama signed a law Friday putting brakes on the 2012 overhaul of the federal flood insurance program that ended government subsidies for flood insurance and led to the immediate spike in premiums that have hit Roseau so hard.

But while the law offers instant relief for homeowners hit by premiums that soared overnight, for many the reprieve is temporary, including those in Roseau.

In Minnesota, some 947 owners of businesses and second homes are still facing premium increases of 25 percent a year until they give up their subsidies and start paying rates based on actual flood risks, according Federal Emergency Management Agency data compiled by The Associated Press.

Another 2,520 home and residential building owners could see rate increases of up to 18 percent per year.

Of those, 241 are located in Roseau — more than any other Minnesota city, according to the FEMA data.

Jake Ost and his wife, who are expecting their first child, found out quickly they couldn't afford a home anywhere in Roseau's flood zone. They made an offer on a house they really liked, and then found out the flood insurance premiums could reach $4,000 annually.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
State, national news
  • 8,000 get false notice of health care cancellation ST. PAUL — More than 8,000 low-income Minnesotans received erroneous notices that their health coverage would be temporarily canceled if they don't pay up. A July 17 notice warned MinnesotaCare subscribers that they faced a four-month coverage locko

    July 28, 2014

  • ND deputy hurt in scuffle Suspect charged with assaulting, trying to disarm law officer

    July 28, 2014

  • Fergus Falls plans deer hunt Hunters are selected by a lottery, pay $20 fee

    July 28, 2014

  • Man killed in home invasion Homeowner's son in Ray, Minn., fires fatal shot

    July 28, 2014

  • Charges filed in July 8 fatal Dodge Center woman criminally charged in fatal car crash

    July 28, 2014

  • American doctor in Africa gets treatment for Ebola BOONE, N.C. (AP) — An American doctor infected with the deadly Ebola disease received intensive treatment Sunday in West Africa and was in stable condition, talking to his medical team and working on his computer, a spokeswoman for an aid group said.

    July 27, 2014

  • Salmonella Outbreak Trial [Duplicate] Trial in salmonella outbreak to start in Georgia ATLANTA (AP) — Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georg

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Pitfalls emerge in health insurance renewals WASHINGTON — For the 8 million people who persevered through all the technical travails in the new health insurance exchanges and managed to sign up for coverage in 2014, their policies will probably automatically renew come November when open enroll

    July 27, 2014

  • Hamas agrees to 24-hour holiday truce in Gaza war GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Hamas on Sunday agreed to observe a 24-hour truce in Gaza after initially rejecting a similar Israeli offer, as fighting resumed and the two sides wrangled over the terms of a lull that international diplomats had hoped c

    July 27, 2014

  • Solar car race to end at University of Minnesota MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A cross-country solar car race is set to finish at the University of Minnesota on Monday. About 10 solar cars from colleges around the world are competing in the eight-day, 1,700-mile American Solar Challenge. The race began July

    July 27, 2014