As a lifelong New Jersey resident and an Insurance Broker in this state, for all my adult life, I realize how important the Federal Flood Insurance Program is to New Jersey residents.
The current program expired Sept. 30, 2017, and Congress has passed several short-term extensions since. The National Flood Insurance Program now will next expire May 31.
The article below, published yesterday, sheds some light on current hearings in progress to overhaul the program.
WASHINGTON — After more than a year of kicking the can downfield, Congress may finally be ready to extend and overhaul the federal flood insurance program so important to New Jersey.
At a hearing Wednesday, the new House Financial Services Committee chairwoman, Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., backed changes to the program championed by U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.
The plan includes steps to hold down premiums, invest in construction projects designed to reduce the impact of the next storm, forgive a $20 billion debt that ballooned after Hurricane Katrina and then after Sandy, and develop new maps that accurately identify areas in danger of flooding.
Federal flood insurance is one of the few federal programs that benefits New Jersey more than other states. FEMA has paid $6 billion to property owners in the state from Jan. 1, 1978, through Sept. 30, 2018, behind only Louisiana and Texas, agency statistics show.
About 227,000 New Jerseyans have federal flood insurance. The Garden State bore the brunt of Hurricane Sandy.
Menendez said he would work with Waters on legislation, unlike in the last Congress where he found no support among most House Republicans for his measure.
His plan would have held down increases in flood insurance premiums, allocated funds to protect properties against water damage rather than just paying claims, and changed procedures in response to problems that surfaced when Hurricane Sandy homeowners sought to be compensated for damages.
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