Asbury Park Press – NJ’s 2nd Largest Newspaper

4 NJ Cities Adopt resolution against Maxine Waters NFIP Bill

“Looming changes to the National Flood Insurance program seem likely to hike costs for Jersey Shore property owners. The question is: How high will they go?Advocates are sounding the alarm about a House bill that would allow flood premiums to soar by up to 18 percent annually for primary homeowners and as much as 25 percent a year for those who own vacation homes.

“All this bill is going to do is, it’s going to make the 2007 housing bubble look like a walk in the park,” said Toms River resident George Kasimos, founder of Stop FEMA Now, an advocacy group founded after superstorm Sandy devastated parts of the Shore nearly seven years ago. “You’re not going to be able to sell your home. Period.

“Kasimos has been urging local municipalities to adopt a resolution opposing a flood insurance reauthorization bill championed by U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-California, that was approved last month by the House Financial Services Committee.

The resolution says the potential rate increases included in the Waters’ bill “are unacceptable and will unfairly increase premiums to those requiring flood insurance.”

Berkeley was the first to adopt the resolution; Toms River, Lacey and Brick have followed suit.

Berkeley Mayor Carmen Amato Jr., who has been circulating the resolution to local mayors, said several other Shore towns are expected to adopt it this week.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez, D-New Jersey, is expected to announce a bipartisan flood insurance reform bill Tuesday that would cap premium increases at 5 percent to 10 percent per year, and require that $1 billion per year be provided for mitigation projects.

The bill is likely to be introduced on Thursday.

The Menendez bill would also increase oversight and restrictions on private insurance companies that write flood policies.

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