N.J. congressmen push to slow down flood insurance rate increases

    Two New Jersey congressmen are pushing to slow increases in flood insurance premiums that were put in place before Hurricane Sandy.

    U.S. Reps. Frank LoBiondo and John Runyan, both South Jersey Republicans, are sponsoring legislation that would allow premiums to increase 12.5 percent over eight years instead of the 25 percent now mandated over four years.

    “Whether that in itself will keep neighborhoods together remains to be seen because there are a lot of other moving parts here,” LoBiondo said. “But, clearly, 25 percent is much more onerous than 12.5 percent, and we’re hopeful to take a small bite of the pain that’s going on here with a common-sense approach.”

    Runyan says many homeowners trying to rebuild from Sandy are strapped for cash.

    “You have the likelihood of people just walking away because they can’t shoulder that burden, and this just eases it and pushes it out a little bit,” he said. “So if someone is on the fence trying to make that decision, it makes the fiscal decision for them to rebuild a lot easier.”

    Runyan says it will be a challenge to get Congress to approve the slower rate increases because some lawmakers don’t even want the national flood insurance program to continue.

    This story has been corrected.  It previously misidentified Frank LoBiondo’s political party.

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