Rising flood insurance rates getting scrutiny in Harrisburg

    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.

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

    State Sen. Gene Yaw (R-Lycoming County) 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.

    Yaw says the Center for Rural Pennsylvania finds the premium changes 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.

    He says these are not trivial increases.

    “For example, where people may have been paying eight or $900 a year for flood insurance, all of a sudden, they were getting premiums that were $1,000 a month. And this affects the area, any area, low-lying area that’s in a flood plain,” he said.

    Federal lawmakers are considering legislation to delay the implementation of the 2012 law causing the higher insurance rates.

    The proposal calls for a study of affordability of higher premiums as well as greater scrutiny of flood zone maps.

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