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Another Eastern-Seaboard Nor’easter Looming as FEMA Flood Insurance Is About to Expire

There’s another nor’easter ramping up to pummel Hudson Valley homes today. It’s the second in as many weeks here, the first devastated Westchester County homes by the thousands. 70 thousand still are without power and a drive to Scarsdale Monday was punctuated by sightings of downed trees and utility poles galore.

This is just a reminder for those of you holding FEMA managed National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies that the national program will expire at 11:59 p.m. on March 23, 2018.

What does this mean for Hudson Valley homeowners and New Yorkers living along the shorelines and coastal waterways? According to the website for the NFIP, “FEMA and Congress have never failed to honor the flood insurance contracts in place with NFIP policyholders. In the unlikely event the NFIP’s authorization lapses, FEMA would still have authority to ensure the payment of valid claims with available funds. However, FEMA would stop selling and renewing policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation. Nationwide, the National Association of Realtors estimates that a lapse might impact approximately 40,000 home sale closings per month.”

Stronger storms are bringing more widespread devastation, yet a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP remains in limbo. Especially vulnerable are those who reside in areas outside of designated flood zones, which are increasingly affected by extreme weather. Austin Perez, senior policy representative for insurance issues at the National Association of REALTORS®, says NAR’s priority is to secure a five-year reauthorization of the NFIP. The bill NAR supports, known as the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, also would provide money to help homeowners mitigate flood risk, limit insurance premium hikes, and improve flood mapping, among other measures.

If you currently have flood insurance which may expire by the March 23rd deadline, please contact your local and state legislators to urge them to support the NFIP re-authorization bill.

This isn’t the last we’ll see of devastating floods and extreme storms in the Hudson Valley. All we can do is try to find better ways to deal with the wreckage they leave behind.