Warren introduces bill to examine flood mapping, insurance

YARDLEY, Feb. 21 – State Rep. Perry Warren, D-Bucks, introduced a bill this month to create the Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force in Pennsylvania.

The task force would study the federal Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act’s effect on premiums for flood insurance, the latest FEMA flood maps that classify new flood zones and the federal discount program to identify areas and neighborhoods that need additional assistance to keep flood-insurance premiums affordable.

“Flood zones shift and can cause someone who didn’t need flood insurance before to now need it. That can cause a significant change in a homeowner’s budget,” Warren said. “We need to examine these issues closely.”

According to the National Flood Insurance Program, Pennsylvania is among the 10 highest states for flood insurance payouts between January 1978 and March 2011, ranking eighth at $773 million. Warren added that almost every legislative district is impacted by the new flood maps and the flood insurance premium increases.

House Bill 530, which has been referred to the House Insurance Committee, has bipartisan support and would address the impact upon residents across Pennsylvania. 

It would require that the task force, comprised of nine appointed members from state government, issue a final report within six months of its creation. 

The task force’s recommendations would include:

  • Potential programs that provide premium discounts;
  • Potential programs, whether through the mechanism of premium discounts or other relief, that create incentives for local governments to undertake or continue flood mitigation efforts; and
  • Implementation of necessary changes in state statutes and practices, policies and procedures relating to the administration of flood insurance.

“It is our job as legislators to make sure the process is working for everyone – flood insurers, taxpayers and most importantly, homeowners,” Warren said.