One area elected official is taking his cause of overhauling the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program on the road.
Citing an effort to build national support for what he has characterized as a “broken” program, Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Howard Beach) this week said he has written letters to Congressional representatives in Louisiana and Mississippi to request meetings and encourage collaboration on flood insurance reform for families faced with rising premiums and federal red tape.
Goldfeder, who was assigned to the Assembly Insurance Committee in February, penned missives to Reps. Steven Palazzo (D-Miss.), Steve Scalise (D-La.), Cedric Richmond (D-La.), Ralph Abraham (D-La.), and Garret Graves (D-La.) because their districts were hit especially hard by Hurricane Katrina. He said he wrote request meetings to discuss potential fixes to NFIP at a time when the federal program finds itself $24 billion in debt. Goldfeder also said he noted in the letters the similar experiences of Katrina and Superstorm Sandy victims in dealing with such issues as post-disaster insurance payouts, FEMA’s policy of Recoupment, and rising flood insurance premiums.
“Families in southern Queens and Rockaway were utterly devastated during Sandy,” Goldfeder said. “But, the crushing bureaucracy and harmful policies of FEMA and the NFIP made us victims two times over. Sadly, few understand this as well as Katrina-devastated communities in Louisiana and Mississippi. That’s why I’ve reached out to congressional leaders in both states to ask for their support and expertise in fixing the broken NFIP and creating lasting flood insurance reform to benefit our families moving forward.”
Goldfeder indicated that he has already spoken with legislative aides for Scalise and Richmond during a visit last week to Washington to discuss flood insurance reform with members of the New York delegation. He intends to make a second trip to D.C. to meet with recipients and encourage collaboration at the federal level.
Goldfeder has been pushing for flood insurance reform all year. In March, he proposed the creation of the New York Flood Insurance Association, a joint underwriting alliance modeled on the New York Property Insurance Underwriters Association and aimed at providing homeowners with an alternative to rising federally-backed flood insurance premiums by offering “economical, fair and non-discriminatory policies; and protect families from the unfair flood damage claims practices experienced” after Sandy.
Goldfeder referenced the legislation he has introduced in Albany to form the NYFIA in his letter to the Louisiana and Mississippi representatives.
“Under my proposal, we would create a system that requires insurers to put some skin in the game and pool risks to help lower flood insurance premiums for our families,” he wrote.
Following Sandy, families found their insurance claims contested by providers, with some even experiencing fraudulent practices on the part of insurance adjusters, Goldfeder noted.
“Our broken flood insurance system affects families all across the country. With each new disaster, the problem grows and the need for reform becomes more pressing,” he said.
By Michael V. Cusenza email@example.com