Homeowners filing flood insurance claims from damage caused by Hurricane Sandy now have more time to submit paperwork supporting their cases. The Federal Emergency Management Agency — which oversees the National Flood Insurance Program — is extending…
New Jersey’s top environmental official said today he expected a backlog of applications for a Hurricane Sandy elevation program to be cleared by the end of the summer. Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Bob Martin said roughly 2,…
Bill would reform National Flood Insurance Program, aims to protect homeowners from steep insurance hikes
Congressman Chris Smith and Monmouth County Shaun Golden prepare to survey Hurricane Sandy damage
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House of Representatives voted last night to provide relief to hundreds of thousands of homeowners facing huge flood insurance premium rate increases, including many still recovering from the devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy. Congressman Chris Smith (NJ-04), who represents severely damaged areas in southern Monmouth and northern Ocean Counties, praised the vote.
“The bill makes targeted and necessary reforms and will prevent massive premium increases from hitting homeowners who simply cannot afford them—and cannot find a buyer to take them on, leaving them stranded and without a solution,” Smith said. “Many cannot afford the recommended mitigation measures that may or may not reduce their premiums, creating a further environment of uncertainty. Accordingly, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act slows the rate of increase that was included in the 2012 Biggert-Waters reform bill, allowing homeowners to remain in their homes and plan accordingly to continue flood insurance policies.”
The bill passed in a 309-91 vote. If enacted the bill will provide relief and stability to these homeowners and their communities while bringing reform to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It also provides a mechanism for enhanced community participation in the flood mapping process and increases transparency by making information publicly available to impacted parties.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HR 3370), co-sponsored by Smith, remedies many of the unintended consequences of the so-called Biggert-Waters Act of 2012. It repeals certain rate increases on Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (Pre-FIRM) properties and restores Grandfathered Rates for Post-FIRM properties that were built to code at the time of construction. It prevents a property sale from triggering rate increases and refunds those who have already faced one.
FREEHOLD, N.J. – Federal officials are taking steps which may help residents of the hard-hit neighborhood of North Middletown as they face potential flood insurance increases as a result of new flood maps expected to be unveiled this week.
U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04) said that as a result of congressional inquiry and meetings with local officials from Middletown, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other state and federal agencies, FEMA has agreed to implement a comprehensive study and evaluation of the East Keansburg Levee system which FEMA had previously “de-certified” for flood protection, resulting in proposed steep flood insurance hikes for homeowners. If the study recognizes the levee system as flood protection that may prevent devastating flooding as it did during Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Irene, it could lead to reduced risk assessment and lower insurance costs.
“Thousands of residents of North Middletown are looking at the very real possibility of their flood insurance premiums skyrocketing because FEMA no longer views some levee systems as adequate flood protection,” said Smith. “But as residents there know, for more than 40 years this neighborhood has been well served by a flood management system of levees, dunes, and pumps. This unique system has been effective since its installation in the 1970s. Even during Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy, when much of the coast was badly flooded, the roughly 1,400 homes in North Middletown remained protected. To omit an evaluation of this levy system and a substantive analysis of any form of protection it might offer would be unfair to the residents.”
Smith sent a letter to FEMA Region II chief Jerome Hatfield on November 8 requesting the agency do a study, to which Hatfield replied that FEMA did not at the time have adequate funding.
“We are thankful that FEMA has now identified funding to undertake this important study, particularly after correspondence in which Administrator Hatfield stated that FEMA was looking to explore this option and work together with local stakeholders,” said Smith. “We hope this new study will enable FEMA to determine the effectiveness of the East Keansburg Levee system and provide them with the most comprehensive and up-to-date information as they conclude analysis of the region’s flood maps.”
BRICK — Though Peggy Molloy’s home in Point Pleasant Borough did not sustain water damage during Hurricane Sandy, she said a looming increase in flood insurance rates may force her to walk away. The 56-year-old resident said she faces paying premiums…
49 Second Street, Highlands. Click for larger view.
For the second time in less than a month, a home being lifted above the floodplain has collapsed in the borough of Highlands.
At 9:43 this evening the Highlands Police Department received a call that the house at 49 Second Street had collapsed.
The Highlands Fire Department and eight volunteer members of the Highlands First Aid Squad are on the scene. There were no injuries reported. Gas and electric utilities were shut off. The utility companies have not been notified and neighboring homes have not been evacuated.
The home had already been lifted. A resident on the scene told MMM that the cause of the collapse is believed to be wind.
On August 23, a house being lifted onto its temporary cribbing collapsed in the borough. The contractor on the scene of the August
49 Second St, Highlands on July 26. Photo courtesy of Kerry McEntee Gowan via facebook
23rd incident said it was an accident.
There was no contractor on the scene in Highlands tonight. A lawn sign for Jerome Homes House Lifting was on the Second Street property.
Highlands, NJ- A home that had been damaged in Superstorm Sandy collapsed while being lifted above the floodplain this morning, destroying an adjoining home in the process. No one was injured. Both homes will be torn down this afternoon.
Borough Engineer Dale Leubner said that the cribbing, the wood palates piled to hold the structure while lifting takes place, apparently failed on one corner of the home, causing the collapse.
No one was home in either property. Leubner said that residents of the neighborhood were evacuated. Fire Departments from Asbury Park, Middletown and Naval Weapons Station Earle were on hand to assist the Highlands Volunteer Fire Department in preventing further property damage or injury. Utility workers from JCP&L and New Jersey Natural Gas were on hand to shut off the utilities in preparation of the demolitions.
Steven Hasenfus, President of Hasenfus Construction, the company hired to lift the Locust Ave home said, “It was an accident.” Hasenfus declined to comment further. Hasenfus Construction has offices in Long Branch and in Plymouth, MA. Hasenfus’s LinkedIn profile says he’s from the Great Boston area.
Mayor Nolan thanked the Highlands first responders, and those from the neighboring communities who arrived to assist and urged homeowners who are rebuilding and raising their home to be careful. “Thank God no one was hurt. This should be a cautionary tale for homeowners to be sure they hire qualified contractors and that those contractors have adequate insurance.”
Patricia Parker, President of the Highlands Fire Department’s Ladies Auxilary, said that homeowners who are lifting their homes should be sure to remove all valuable possession and important papers.
The owner of the home that collapsed is traveling out of state. Friends and family are on the scene waiting to recover whatever possession are in the home after it is demolished.
The adjoining home has been abandoned since Hurricane Irene devastated the borough in 2011.
Middletown Patch is reporting that FEMA will release new flood maps for Atlantic, Hudson, Monmouth and Ocean Counties on Monday, June 17.
As expected, the new ‘preliminary’ maps will result in less homes being located in ‘V’ zones than were so rated in the maps released by FEMA in December following Superstorm Sandy. V zones are areas along coasts that are subject to inundation by the 1-percent-annual-chance flood event with additional hazards associated with storm-induced waves.
Many of the properties located in V zones in the December flood maps will be in ‘A’ zones in the maps being released next week, according to a statement by U.S. Senator Bob Menendez as quoted by Patch.
A zones are also subject to the 1-percent annual-change flood event (100 year flood) but without the additional hazards from waves.
Homes in A zones will not have to be raised as high and homes in V zones and will have lower flood insurance premiums.
Following up on the story of the Purcells from Toms River posted last week, my friend Ken Braswell of ShoreGrafx and I visited the Purcells at what is left of their home.
Kim and Jay were sold a flood insurance policy with a $206,000 dollar limit, well in excess of the value of the home. A engineer they hired at their own expense (because their insurance adjuster told them it may take a year for the insurance company to send a engineer) and a contractor told them their house could not be rebuilt and must be torn down. Their insurance company said their house can be rebuilt for $28,000. The insurance company adjuster said he was sending the check and closing the file, regardless of what the Purcells or the public adjuster they hired had to say about it.
Since we visited Kim and Jay, the insurance company has reopened the file and is sending an engineer out to inspect the home. Let’s hope the insurance company does the right thing.
If they don’t, we’ll have a lot more material to publicize.