Kinkead, Gaydos bill for landslide insurance clears committee

Legislation to help victims of landslides eligible for full vote in PA House

HARRISBURG, June 25 Bipartisan legislation introduced by state Reps. Emily Kinkead and Valerie Gaydos to create a new insurance program for PA homeowners living in landslide-prone areas advanced through the House Environmental Resources and Energy Committee today.

“I am over the moon to see our bill to help landslide victims finally advance out of committee,” said Kinkead, D-Allegheny. “I’ve been working to create a landslide insurance program for Pennsylvanians since my first day in office. I am confident that we will get this bill out of the House with broad bipartisan support and hope that the Senate will do its part to establish an actual support system for folks who own property in areas where landslides can occur like southwestern Pennsylvania. Words truly cannot capture my excitement at seeing this bill finally gain some momentum.”

“Landslides pose a significant threat to our communities, causing property damage and putting lives at risk,” said Gaydos, R-Allegheny. “This bill seeks to provide much-needed financial protection to homeowners and municipalities who face the expenses of these natural disasters.”

House Bill 589 would create an insurance program through the state to cover landslides, slope movement and sinkholes and provide assistance to local governments that wish to mitigate the risk of landslides within their communities. Damage from landslides cannot currently be covered through homeowner’s insurance in the state, leaving Pennsylvanian homeowners “on their own” in this area.

Previous versions of this legislation have been discussed for years; however, Gaydos and Kinkead have worked together to update and streamline the proposed program and have reintroduced it as a bipartisan bill.

Last September, Gaydos and Kinkead held a series of town hall meetings and invited experts to testify about this issue. Each testifier stated this is an ongoing concern to homeowners in western Pennsylvania.

In January, Gaydos and Kinkead visited residents who were affected by a landslide after heavy rainstorms. Some residents were asked to abandon their homes as a safety precaution.

Western Pennsylvania is susceptible to landslides because of two natural geological characteristics:

  • The bedrock land composition, consisting mainly of incompetent mud rocks, such as silty shales and clay stones that weather easily.
  • The regional topography consisting of steep slopes.

The legislation now moves on to the full House of Representatives for consideration.

The committee meeting can be viewed here.