EYEWITNESS NEWS (WBRE/WYOU) — Federal officials are responding to area residents’ concerns about potential increases in flood insurance premiums.

This comes as FEMA finalizes new flood zone maps which are used to help determine flood insurance rates.

The short answer is this FEMA officials say that most people in our region will not see an increase in their flood insurance premiums.

Residents of Northeastern and Central Pennsylvania are no strangers to flooding or flood insurance. For decades FEMA developed flood zone maps that were used as the basis for flood insurance premiums.

On Wednesday the I-Team spoke with several FEMA officials about those maps. They insist there is no longer a “one size fits all” when it comes to flood insurance premiums.

For decades a property’s proximity to rivers or streams was the main factor in the flood insurance equation, but no longer.

The new process is called risk rating 2.0. which launches Friday uses a variety of data from individual properties to calculate insurance premiums.

“In Luzerne County, we’re expecting that most people are hot going to see big changes. Everything about risk rating 2.0. Is about gradual changes,” stated Maggie Dunn, an official from FEMA.

FEMA officials insist that some people may see an increase in their flood insurance rates but will not see a huge increase.

“The bottom line in this story is there are statutory caps for rate increases FEMA by law can’t increase premiums more than 18% except for certain specific types of situations,” said Rich Sobota, a FEMA official.

FEMA officials offered up this advice to residents.

“The best thing that people can do is call their insurance agent that’s how they are going to get information on what their insurance will cost. What they might be able to do to lower their insurance rate and get a clear picture of what the rates will be for their property,” explained Dunn.

FEMA officials tell Eyewitness News the new maps will take effect next June. For more information head over to FEMA’s website.