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Lawmakers Propose Delaying Flood Insurance Increases on Sandy Anniversary

By Katie Honan | October 29, 2013 12:12pm
 The streets of Midland Beach, Staten Island, were flooded days after Hurricane Sandy.
The streets of Midland Beach, Staten Island, were flooded days after Hurricane Sandy.
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DNAinfo/Janet Upadhye

NEW YORK — A group of lawmakers from across the country were expected to introduce legislation Tuesday to delay a spike in insurance premiums for home and business owners living in flood zones, including thousands across the city. 

Rep. Maxine Waters, of California, who was a co-sponsor of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act in 2012, was set to make the announcement Oct. 29 along with other senators and representatives.

The bill, also sponsored by Congressman Michael Grimm, who represents Staten Island and Brooklyn, will "address affordability concerns stemming from the implementation" of the 2012 act, according to a spokesman for Waters.

It is not clear how many properties in the city would be affected by the increase — which would raise premiums by up to 25 percent — but some 70,000 homes were included in the new FEMA flood maps.

The legislation will delay the spike in insurance premiums for up to four years, according to a report in the Insurance Journal. 

The Biggert-Waters Act was introduced in July 2012 to find a fix for the bankrupt National Flood Insurance Program and will remove subsidies for homeowners in flood zones around the country, many of which were added or changed after Hurricane Sandy.

Waters said in September that her goal in writing the 2012 legislation was to "create a bipartisan solution to repair our National Flood Insurance Program," and didn't know it would cause such a spike in insurance premiums. 

Home and business owners across the country, including thousands in New York City, would see a 25 percent increase in their flood insurance premiums every year until the premiums reflect the full risk rates, according to FEMA.

A nationwide rally was held last month to protest the changes, including a large event in Broad Channel, Queens.