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Insurance, rebuilding policies a challenge after Sandy

May 11, 2013 at 3:42 PM   |   Comments

POINT PLEASANT, N.J., May 11 (UPI) -- New federal insurance legislation is making matters more difficult for many trying to rebuild after Hurricane Sandy, residents on the U.S. East Coast said.

Many residents said they were unaware the flood insurance they were forced to carry was being federally subsidized -- and that many of those subsidies are set to expire under a new law that happened to coincide roughly with the storm's aftermath, The New York Times said Friday.

The legislation will cause insurance premiums to skyrocket and force rebuilt structures to meet new, stricter guidelines for flood damage prevention.

The new insurance could cost as much as $30,000 per year, the Times said.

Maria Zanetich of Point Pleasant, N.J., said her insurance is set to go up and her home, which sits a stone's throw from the Atlantic coast, will have to be elevated five feet off its current foundation to meet the new standards. The elevation work alone would cost $100,000.

"I paid my flood insurance on time every year, but I didn't even know that I had a subsidy, much less one that is now being phased out," she said. "The insurance moneys that we received will not cover both elevating my house and repairs."

Another problem is outdated flood maps that determine who must carry flood insurance and who doesn't need it. Many of the maps haven't been updated in decades leaving some who lost their homes during the storm uncovered by insurance.

"A lot of the maps are so old, they have become unreliable," said J. Robert Hunter, who once ran the flood program and is now the director of insurance at the Consumer Federation of America. "It's not doing you a favor to give a cheap rate, and a year later, your house is gone. ... Consumers aren't helped by misleading maps."

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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