U.S. Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Congressman Frank Pallone (D-NJ6) today toured a neighborhood in North Middletown that was largely spared by Superstorm Sandy, yet its residents were facing skyrocketing flood insurance rates as a result of newly redrawn Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) flood maps. They discussed how these residents will benefit from reforms contained in the Menendez-authored and Pallone-sponsored Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HFIAA) that was signed into law last week. Sen. Menendez and Rep. Pallone were joined by Middletown's Mayor Stephanie Murray.
"I say to you--with confidence--that relief is on the way," declared Sen. Menendez, speaking to Port Monmouth residents. "You have been spared from making the difficult choice between paying for flood insurance and paying your mortgage, buying medicine or putting food on the table. You don't have to walk away from your home."
"This new law will bring much needed relief to so many homeowners living in flood prone regions. These hardworking individuals played by the rules, purchased flood insurance responsibly, and were still facing the prospect of exorbitant rates that they could not have foreseen," said Congressman Pallone. "This law with lessen the burden that middle class families face when purchasing flood insurance and make it easier for them to stay in their homes."
The two praised President Obama for signing HFIAA into law, bringing relief to flood-weary New Jersey residents and protecting thousands from the financial tsunami that would have resulted from soaring flood insurance rates.
As a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Sen. Menendez today announced plans to call for hearings into the insurance claims process, citing numerous complaints from Sandy survivors that insurance companies have low-balled homeowners and given them the runaround.
Sen. Menendez authored and first introduced HFIAA last October on the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy. It addressed the egregious problems with FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), bringing relief to homeowners who desperately needed help, while not significantly impacting the program's solvency. Rep. Pallone was an original co-sponsor in the House and worked to secure its passage in early March 2014. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support.