Insurance Rates Set to Hike to Record Levels in a Community Protected from Flooding

North Middletown, NJ, November 14, 2013 – The North Middletown Flood Insurance Task Force (NMTF) announced today that members of Congress, FEMA, The Army Corps of Engineers and Township Officials including Mayor Gerard Scharfenberger met with Task Force Representatives to discuss the state of flood insurance for the Nation and for North Middletown in particular.

“You get concerned when you hear about 3000% insurance rate increases, or premiums as much as $10,000 or more”  said Leslie Hare, spokesperson for the North Middletown Flood Insurance Task Force.  “We are a small, moderate income community.  The things we were hearing were frightening to all of us.  We asked for a meeting to get answers to questions directly from FEMA, The US Army Corps of Engineers and our elected Officials,” she continued.

 

Congressman Frank Pallone (NJ6), representative for Congressman Chris Smith (NJ4), Bill McDonnell (FEMA Region II) and the US Army Corps of Engineers along with their staff were in attendance.  Middletown Mayor Scharfenberger and township officials hosted the meeting.

Questions centered on the mandates resulting from the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW12).  “This is a National issue. It affects voters in all 50 states,” said Greg Hutchinson, NMTF member who led the discussion. “We had some of the same questions everyone has; but we also had some very specific questions about how the North Middletown risk analysis is being done.  In 2009 FEMA “de-certified” our fully functional Army Corps of Engineers designed and installed levee and pump systems.  As a result, North Middletown was placed in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). North Middletown has not had any significant flooding in more than 40 years including hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy. We wanted to understand why.  FEMA agreed to work with us on this,” he continued. 

A further issue centered on legislation to amend some, or all of the Biggert-Waters Act.  “There are at least 10 different bills introduced into the House of Representatives, 5 in the Senate; each a related House bill” said Hare.  “With more than 20 sponsors and hundreds of co-sponsors for bills to amend Biggert-Waters, why hasn’t it been amended?  This is what we will look into next. This is a national issue with soaring bi-partisan support.  Even Maxine Waters, one of the sponsors of the Biggert-Waters Act has introduced legislation to amend her bill. Congress has an extraordinary opportunity here – to demonstrate to voters nationwide – that it is capable of working together to correct an intolerable situation for 6 million Americans.  We urge them to do that,” concluded Hare.