EXETER – As hundreds of homeowners in Luzerne County prepare for pricier flood insurance policies,
U.S. Senator Bob Casey said he is pushing legislation that could delay the increases.
Casey said the “The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act” would delay the anticipated increase for 30,000 policyholders in Pennsylvania.
A law passed in 2012 called for FEMA to eliminate many of the subsidies that help pay for expensive policies on properties in flood zones.
Casey told Newswatch 16 that the law is not a quick fix, but part of the solution as lawmakers look for a long-term answer to the issue.
“It’s easy for some to say that if they`re not living through it,” said Casey. “A delay of a rate increase, I think, is a measure of help that they wouldn`t have otherwise.”
Exeter Mayor Cassandra Coleman-Corcoran said she supports the legislation, because some struggling homeowners may not be able to afford the increased flood insurance policies.
“These people have just been hit over and over again,” said Coleman-Corcoran. “The increase would just put people out of their homes. With taxes, it’s absolutely ridiculous.”
West Pittston Mayor Tony Denisco said one resident’s policy skyrocketed to $4,000 annually.
“They’re tearing (flood houses) down, they cannot be built on that property again,” said Denisco. “We’re losing tax revenue there. Some of them are moving out of town.”
Sara Pencek said the flood insurance on her home in Exeter recently increased to $500 annually, and she’s hoping that lawmakers find a long-term solution.
“There should be a better way to handle it than this,” said Pencek. “I don’t think we should be responsible for having to pay for flood insurance on houses that aren’t in the flood zones right now.”