By Ramsey Cox
Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) called on Congress to pass a bill that would stop flood insurance rate increases affecting communities still recovering from Hurricane Sandy.
“Even as they recover from the worst natural disaster in our state’s history, homeowners are being faced with a manmade disaster in the form of skyrocketing flood insurance premiums,” Menendez said Thursday.
“This legislation simply provides temporary relief to property owners … who played by the rules and are now poised to see their most valuable asset become worthless through no fault of their own,” Menendez said.
After a wave of insurance claims from Hurricane Katrina victims put the National Flood Insurance Program on the verge of bankruptcy, Congress passed a law, known as Biggert-Waters, to restore its solvency.
Biggert-Waters took effect at the beginning of the new year, and now some lawmakers are saying the drastic rate increases are placing a burden on recovering flood victims and making their homes impossible to sell or stay in.
Menendez’s bill, S. 1610, has bipartisan support from 27 Senate cosponsors.
“Flood insurance isn’t just a coastal issue or a northeast issue — it’s an issue that affects every state,” Menendez said. “The fact is every state has properties covered by the National Flood Insurance Program — and every state will see premiums on some of those properties increase.”