News Alert
VIDEO: Hundreds Evacuated By Raging Fire In…

New Bill Introduced To Delay Flood Insurance Rate Hikes

Menendez bill would stave off full unsubstantiated rates for 10 years

When U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez joined Gov. Chris Christie days before Memorial Day weekend to declare the Belmar boardwalk open, he promised action on impending flood insurance rate hikes.

Last week, Menendez (D-N.J.) introduced the SHORE Act, short for the "Saving Homeowners from Onerous Rate Escalation" act.

The law would spread out the increases in flood insurance rates over 10 years – 5 percent for the first five years, and an additional 25 percent per year afterwards until full risk rate is reached for properties that would have had their subsidies phased out at 25 percent, per year, immediately.  

It would apply to all properties, including secondary homes, in flood zones.

Flood insurance was de-subsidized in 2012 as part of the Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform law, a measure that was attached to a federal transportation bill and coupled with an extension of federal student loan subsidies.

The law was controversial at the time, though primarily over the continuance of student loan subsidies, not the elimination of flood insurance subsidies. Menendez, as well as Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) who is a co-sponsor of the SHORE Act, voted in favor of passing Biggert-Waters.

But following Superstorm Sandy, Menendez has come out against the proposed rate hikes.

"There is no logical reason why New Jersey homeowners who weathered Superstorm Sandy and are struggling to put their lives together should lose the support of the federal government in keeping their home," said Menendez, in a statement. "The sharp premium increases that have already gone into effect are an unnecessary and cruel burden on those who have already borne enough hardship following Superstorm Sandy."

Last month, an amendment aimed at halting federal flood insurance rate hikes for five years was blocked in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

Amendments in the U.S. Senate require what is known as "unanimous consent" before a vote can take place, meaning a single member can block a vote from occurring. But a bill, such as the one proposed by Menendez, cannot be stopped by single member of the chamber.

Homeowners could face annual flood insurance premiums of up to $31,000 a year under reforms included in the 2012 Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform law if they do not raise their homes to comply with updated flood maps. Raising a home could cost tens of thousands of dollars at a minimum. Some homeowners have said at public meetings that they are considering abandoning their homes since they cannot afford to raise them.

Homeowners in flood zones who have mortgages are normally required to carry flood insurance.

Many Shore area residents are hopeful that a delay can buy time for a FEMA flood insurance affordability study to be completed before rates change.

Updated FEMA flood maps, known as "working" maps, are due out in two to three weeks.

Related Topics: Bob Menendez and Flood Insurance

About this column: News and essential information about Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey. Related Topics: Biggert-Waters Act, FEMA, Superstorm Sandy, and flood insurance rates

GB Shore June 04, 2013 at 11:21 AM
So Menendez supported and voted for Biggert-Waters.....now, he says that homeowners should have Federal subsidy support. This is clear as the day how this guy (including the now deceased Lautenberg) and many of his colleagues are nothing more than flip floppers who speak in forked toungue. It is inbelievable to me how people can vote and support someone like Menendez....
Joe Stewart June 04, 2013 at 01:11 PM
How about this might not happen for another 100 years. Why do we have flood insurance and homeowners just to get the rates hiked when there is an incident. This is the first claim I have had for either flood or homeowners in EVER. I would rather give my mortgage company an addition to my payment every month for the next 5 years and have them put it in an interest bearing account in case I need it, Then if I sell the house I get it back. Also, let’s remember that the level of this storm surge was an anomaly. According to the USGS records for storm surge, nothing even comes close to the 14' that Sandy represented. The "planets" were perfectly aligned for this one. Here are the recorded storm surge records.... Atlantic City: 7.0', March 1962 Ash Wednesday Nor'easter 4.0', January 1956 Nor'easter Sandy Hook: 5.2', March 1962 Ash Wednesday Nor'easter 4.0', January 1956 Nor'easter So, why all the fuss? If it happens again, I can see the political machine saying that the risk is greater than it ever was. Just because you won the lottery, does not mean the chances of winning again are any greater. Probably a better chance of that than another 14' storm surge. Get over it FEMA and move on, that's what your there for.
proud June 04, 2013 at 02:08 PM
I believe that the author makes a very salient point that BW-12 was not a bill that addressed only flood insurance. What I find mind boggling is that Congress debated this particular legislation for six years . That time period is equal to the entire single term of a Senator or conceivably three single terms of different Representatives.


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something