Flood Insurance Rates Expected To Rise

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WEST PITTSTON – Some home and business owners with National Flood Insurance Program policies in the Wyoming Valley are expected to see their premiums increase later this year.

According to a spokesman, the Federal Emergency Management Agency eliminated “certain artificially low rates and discounts which are no longer sustainable” when the Biggert-Waters Act was signed into law last summer.

FEMA said policy owners with properties that have been repeatedly flooded, and people who are insuring a summer home in a flood zone will likely see the biggest rate increases later this year.

Dave Scalzo told Newswatch 16 that he dropped the flood insurance policy for his home on Susquehanna Avenue in West Pittston in 2009.

Two years later, Scalzo said his neighborhood was devastated when the Susquehanna River flooded after the remnants of Tropical Storm Lee stalled over the region.

"To come in here and see two and a half feet of water on your first floor and knowing that you don`t have flood insurance, knowing that you`re going to have to put a lot of money out of pocket into it and hopefully get help from FEMA, it was devastating,” said Scalzo.

Donna Walsh said she and other agents at Flock Insurance in Wyoming are still waiting for more information from FEMA about the changes.

"Between the homeowners insurance and being required to carry flood insurance, that`s not in the budget. It makes a huge difference,” said Walsh.

"In some instances, you can obtain a flood elevation certificate, which will lower your premium and that requires a surveyor, which is at your cost."