News Article

Two Congressmen Want Flood Insurance Changes

By Phil Gregory, WBGO News
April 16, 2013

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Sandy damaged homes in Manasquan (photo by Phil Gregory)

Two New Jersey Congressmen are making a bipartisan push for to slow increases in flood insurance premiums that were put in place before Hurricane Sandy.

Republican John Runyan and Democrat Frank LoBiondo are trying to get the 25 percent hikes now required over four years to be reduced to 12-and-half-percent over eight years.

LoBiondo says that would help homeowners who want to rebuild.

 “Whether that in itself will keep neighborhoods together remains to be seen because there are a lot of other moving parts here, but clearly 25 percent is much more onerous than 12 and a half percent, and we’re hopeful to take a small bite of the pain that’s going on here with a common sense approach.”

Runyon says many homeowners trying to recover from Sandy are strapped for cash.

 “You have the likelihood of people just walking away because they can’t shoulder that burden, and this just eases it and pushes it out a little bit. So if someone is on the fence trying to make that decision, it makes the fiscal decision for them to rebuild a lot easier.”

Runyan says getting Congressional approval of the proposal to slow the premium increases will be a challenge.

 “Obviously you’re going to have the support of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut delegations easily, but when you actually look at the reforms to the national flood insurance program, there were people that totally disagreed, don’t even think we should have it, so it’s kind of a heavy lift on that end.”

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