Lawmakers introduce program to address flooding concerns

The plan is to give homeowners and small businesses stability and peace of mind when it comes to the risk of flooding.

News 12 Staff

Jul 10, 2023, 7:11 PM

Updated 338 days ago


Lawmakers have introduced a program aimed at addressing flooding concerns as New Jersey and New York continue cleanup following Sunday night's drenching rain and storms.
Neighboring West Point, Westchester and Rockland counties in New York all suffered massive damage due to Sunday's storms. Rep. Frank Pallone and Sen. Bob Menendez addressed the public Monday about the National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization (NFIP-RE) Act of 2023. They're calling it Risk 2.0.
This legislation would reauthorize the program for five years – providing greater stability for homeowners, small business owners and the real estate market. They say it would also implement a series of sweeping reforms to reduce costs, make generational investments in communities to reduce flood risk, and establish a fairer claims process for policyholders – many of which were exposed in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
“Each policyholder gets a risk analysis. But the problem is too many of the towns at the Jersey Shore and also in North Jersey, because it affects all the state, is that for a lot of people, have resulted in significant increases in their premiums,” Pallone said.
Sea Bright residents endured some of the worst damage in New Jersey during Superstorm Sandy in 2012.
“Residents deserve a flood insurance program that is affordable and makes sure that insurance companies are held accountable if homeowners ever need to file a claim,” Sea Bright Mayor Brian Kelly said in a statement. “This bipartisan legislation will reform the program so that residents have the peace of mind they need.”
Menendez says he made a promise to the people of New Jersey and vowed that he would not stop until making sure what was lost in the storm was repaired.
“With disastrous flooding events becoming all the more common, we must work to create a more sustainable, resilient, and affordable flood insurance program that invests in prevention and mitigation efforts, and all while ensure hard-working Americans can have peace of mind in the event of a disaster,” he said.
The lawmakers' plans include:
• Protect policyholders from exorbitant premium hikes by capping annual increases at 9%.
• Provide a comprehensive means-tested voucher for millions of low- and middle-income homeowners and renters if their flood insurance premium becomes prohibitively expensive.
• Increase the maximum limit for Increased Cost of Compliance coverage to better help policyholders rebuild and implement mitigation projects to reduce costly repetitive flood losses.
• Boost funding for mitigation grants and modernize mapping to identify and reduce flood risks.
• Create new oversight measures for insurance companies and vendors while providing FEMA with greater authority to terminate contractors that have a track record of abuse.
• Reform the claims process based on lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy and other disasters, to level the playing field for policyholders during appeal or litigation, hold FEMA accountable to strict deadlines so that homeowners get quick and fair payments, and ban aggressive legal tactics preventing homeowners from filing legitimate claims.

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