Warren bill to examine flood mapping, insurance voted from committee

HARRISBURG, March 19 – A bill to create the Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force in Pennsylvania was voted out of committee Monday, announced state Rep. Perry Warren, who introduced the bill.

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,” said Warren, D-Bucks. “We need to examine these issues closely, and I’m happy to report that we are one step closer to doing so with a bill on the move.”

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 in the state is impacted by the new flood maps and the premium increases.

H.B. 378 was voted out of the House Insurance Committee with bipartisan support.

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 examining:

  • 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.

  • Implementation of necessary changes in state statutes and practices, policies and procedures relating to the administration of flood insurance.

  • Educational material about the risk of flooding and ways to mitigate flood occurrences.

  • Steps the commonwealth should take to inform Pennsylvanians about the options available to them when purchasing flood insurance.

  • Recommendations to help increase the number of people who purchase flood insurance, either through the NFIP or the private flood insurance market.