The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

January 29, 2014

PA Senate delegation split on federal flood insurance revisions

SUNBURY — Pennsylvania’s Senate delegation is divided on a bill being debated by the Senate which would delay flood insurance rate hikes.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday morning, Sen. Pat Toomey said the bill - introduced by New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez - doesn’t do much except delay the premium hikes for four years.

The legislation would delay for up to four years premium increases set to phase in next year on homeowners facing whopping premium increases under new flood maps. It also would allow homeowners with subsidized insurance policies to pass them on to people who buy their homes.

“This bill simply says, ‘Let’s suspend all the reform and for four years,’” he said.

Toomey has introduced an amendment to the bill which would phase in the rate increases for homeowners, never allowing bills to raise more than 25 percent of what the homeowner was paying in one year.

“Slower phase-ins provide the opportunity for affected homeowners in our Commonwealth and across the country to prepare for the future cost of flood insurance,” he said.

The bill also doesn’t have the support of Obama or the House leadership.

“The prospects for enactment of the Menendez bill are nil with President Obama, Speaker Boehner and Chairman Hensarling all voicing concerns regarding this approach. If the Senate insists on moving a bill that the House can’t pass and the President won’t sign, we will be back to square one.”

However, Sen. Bob Casey said he supports the bill, saying it will help delay severe rate hikes for thousands of Pennsylvanians.

“In the last few years Northeastern Pennsylvania has dealt with severe flooding that has battered homes and strained the finances of families,” Casey said earlier this month. “We can’t let these same homeowners who have dealt with the challenges of severe flooding be hit with massing rate hikes on their flood insurance bills.”

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