“Congress created this mess and they need to fix it,” said Hedlund.”Until they do, I am asking the Attorney Genera lto use the expertise and full power of her office to stop these devastating changes from taking place. Allowing this law and these maps to be implemented would be a complete failure of leadership. Homeowners of my district deserve better and I’ll keep fighting until this law is stopped and changed.”
In a letter citing the devastating financial impact thousands of Massachusetts homeowners and families are set to face as a result of changes to the federal flood insurance program,state Senator Robert l.Hedlund has asked Massachusetts Attorney General,Martha Coakley, to use any legal means and resources available to her office to stop the flood insurance changes from being implemented.
“The Attorney General has often and aggressively defending the Commonwealth and its citizens from unfair insurance practices,not to mention from actions of the Federal government. I believe the fight to stop these flood insurance changes from being implemented deserves the weight of the Attorney General’s office behind it,” said Hedlund.
In July 2012,the United States Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to make a number of changes to the NationalFlood Insurance Program (NFIP).
“As we’ve studied the details of these changes,it has become evident that the impact will be financially devastating to thousands of Massachusetts homeowners,” said Hedlund.
“After learning the details and rationale from FEMA,along with the many examples from homeowners of how shockingly unfair and drastic the impact will be,it has become clear that the changes to the flood maps,used to set insurance rates,are based on irrational assumptions and flawed data,” he continued.
Some in Congress who voted for Biggert-Waters,including the main sponsor,are now supporting efforts to delay its implementation. In fact,The United State House of Representatives has already passed a one-year delay to Biggert-Waters as part of the Homeland Security Appropriations bill. The United State Senate has yet to act.
“Massachusetts cannot stand by trusting Congress to do the right thing. That is why I am asking the Attorney General to step in to ensure Massachusetts homeowners are protected from the devastating financial impact of what is clearly a flawed and unfair law,” Hedlund added.
“There are residents who have owned their home for decades,through all the big storms,and they have never had a drop of water come into their home – Yet the new flood maps put them in a high risk for flooding zone,forcing them to buy flood insurance. Others are left with the option of either raising their entire home severalfeet or paying thousands of dollars more in insurance premiums. The new flood maps seem to reflect the possibility of a doomsday type storm you only see in movies instead of realistic local analysis and data,” he continued.
Senate Hedlund has also written to Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey as well as Congressmen Stephen lynch and William Keating,asking them to stop the federal flood insurance changes from taking effect and ensure that at least the following happen:
1) That the assumptions and data used to create the new flood maps go through an external/independent review, including a measurement systems analysis, particularly with respect to the wave analysis;
2) That any changes to flood insurance premiums reflect previous losses and a more practical worst case storm scenario;
3) That homeowners be given a more reasonable amount of time to review and collect the data needed to challenge and appeal flood maps, and;
4) That the cap on increases to annual insurance premiums be returned to 10% and not Increased to 20%.