WASHINGTON, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-16) co-sponsored legislation to help residents living in flood plains who are facing large insurance premium increases in the next five years based on changes to the federal flood assistance formula. This legislation – co-sponsored with Reps. Michael Grimm, Gregory Meeks, Peter King, and Carolyn McCarthy – spreads the increase over eight years providing municipalities time to make improvements to lessen the impact of future floods and storms.
“This legislation gives local governments more time to make improvements and better combat the next storm to hit our region. If they are able to make these changes, more residents will face smaller increases in the flood insurance premiums. I plan to meet with the Army Corp of Engineers next week and tour some of the more hard hit regions of my district, including parts of the Sound Shore area and other areas who have endured flooding due to river or stream overflow. I will be asking them for more help in the mitigation process and to provide assistance to the county, towns and villages as they begin to do the necessary work,” said Rep. Engel, a senior member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “The government can make these changes with little worry, but should a family have to shoulder this burden it could be devastating.”
In July 2012, major changes were enacted to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to address the program’s current financial problems by authorizing increased premiums at a rate of 20% a year over 5 years when new flood maps are adopted. Sandy has created a problem for this plan, as changes in flood projections brought by this storm are going to cause flood premiums in some areas to increase substantially, in some cases over $10,000 a year. If such dramatic increases were allowed to be phased in over only a 5-year period, many homeowners would not be able to afford to pay both their flood premiums and their mortgage payments.
The Flood Victim Premium Relief Act 2013 (H.R. 960), co-sponsored by Rep. Engel, would extend the premium increase timeline for primary residences in areas that have been declared a federal disaster area after July 6, 2012 from 5 years to 8 years. This would be accomplished by reducing the premium increase for the first 4 years after a re-mapping from 20% a year to 5% a year, with the increases for years 5 through 8 going into effect at 20% per year.
“We already have bipartisan support from the New York delegation on this bill, and I am hopeful we will attract Republicans and Democrats from across the country. The people living in the path of such storms should not also have to worry about the cost of insurance. By providing more time for improvements, this legislation will benefit many families on the Sound Shore,” added Rep. Engel.