State House Sound Bites

Capitol reporter Katie Meyer covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
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Lawmakers to gauge flood insurance concerns

Written by Mary Wilson, Former Capitol Bureau Chief | Jan 20, 2014 4:57 PM

An upcoming hearing in Harrisburg will wade into the implications of a federal law that's caused a spike in flood insurance rates.

A 2012 federal law designed to make property owners pay for the risk of living in high flood hazard areas has been met with an outcry from homeowners. Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming) says he's organized a hearing on the new policy to get a better sense of its effects. But the big one is already pretty clear -- skyrocketing insurance costs.

"Where people may have been paying $800 or $900 a year for flood insurance, all of a sudden, they were getting premiums that were $1,000 a month," Yaw said.

The Center for Rural Pennsylvania has data showing the premium changes could affect every county in the state.

"Virtually any community that's along the river has the potential that it's going to have a significant impact on businesses and residents along the flood plain," Yaw said.

A section of the omnibus spending bill passed by Congress last week included a short-term delay in the implementation of a small part of the 2012 federal law causing the higher insurance rates.

Federal lawmakers are considering legislation for a longer-term delay in the implementation of most of the law. That proposal calls for a study of affordability of higher premiums as well as greater scrutiny of flood zone maps.

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