Rising Flood Insurance Premiums
By State Rep. Joe Emrick
137th Legislative District

The coming of warmer temperatures often results in flooding problems with the heavy snowpack, especially in low-lying areas. If you live in such an area, you may have taken out flood insurance, and are probably well aware of the spike in your premiums.

Two years ago, the United States Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which raised premiums on homeowners flood insurance by up to 20 percent. The resulting increases significantly impact the equity on your home.

I am a co-sponsor of House Resolution 648, which urges Congress to re-examine Biggert-Waters. A number of you have been in touch with my office regarding premium rate increases. The act is especially painful for those of you on fixed incomes.

How big of a problem is this? Testifiers at a recent joint House and Senate hearing in Harrisburg said they’ve seen a 1,000 percent increase in their insurance rates since the law went into effect. We are rapidly approaching a point where flood insurance will become unaffordable.

Federal legislation which would create a four-year delay in some premium increases resulting from Biggert-Waters was passed by the Senate three weeks ago. The delay should allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to complete its affordability study and Congress can consider the recommendations of the study. The fate of the legislation now rests in Washington with the House of Representatives.

Thankfully, a bit of a reprieve is already in place. A $1.1 trillion government funding agreement passed by Congress last month blocks FEMA from spending any money to enforce higher premiums on grandfathered subsidized rates for existing policyholders. The bad news - this only remains in effect until this coming Sept. 30.

I am hopeful Washington will hear Pennsylvania’s call, which is certainly not the only state voice asking for a reprieve. Flooding can do great damage. This legislation could drive our citizens right out of their homes.

Questions about this or any legislative issue should be directed to my Mt. Bethel office at (570) 897-0401 or my Nazareth office at (610) 746-5090. 

Representative Joe Emrick
137th District
Pennsylvania House of Representatives

Media Contact: Scott Little
RepEmrick.com / Facebook.com/RepEmrick
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