- Posted January 27, 2014 by
Senate Acts on Bill to Delay Flood Insurance Hikes - Massachusetts Westhill healthcare Insurance Consulting
"It's had a significant impact in the flood-prone areas," said Ken Baris, a real estate agent in West Orange, N.J. "There's lots of people who are seeing their equity being eaten up."
But Egon Kahl, an agent on Long Beach Island in New Jersey, which was hit hard by Superstorm Sandy, said the real estate market there was humming.
Other reforms, including higher premiums for frequently-flooded properties and on 1.7 million second homes would remain in place.
Clearing the first Senate hurdle put the bill on track for Senate action later in the week. Its future in the House was uncertain at best. Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, opposes the Senate bill but was holding the door open to a more modest measure that would leave more of the 2012 overhaul in place.
At issue is the federal flood insurance program that was established in 1968 and has incurred big losses, most recently with Sandy in 2012. It is more than $24 billion in debt to taxpayers for losses from big storms like Sandy and Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
The 2012 overhaul of the program made several changes to the program, which helps 5.6 million policyholders, 20 percent of whom receive subsidized policies for older homes built before communities joined the flood insurance program. Owners of second homes, frequently-flooded properties and businesses in flood areas would gradually lose their subsidies and pay 25 percent more a year until they reach an actuarially sound rate. Others get to keep their subsidies but can't pass them on when selling their homes.