The state House of Representatives has unanimously passed a bill to create the Flood Insurance Premium Assistance Task Force in Pennsylvania. State Rep. Perry Warren is the prime sponsor of H.B. 328, a program he has advocated for since Feb. 2017.

As its name indicates, the task force would deal with the challenge of rising flood insurance premiums. It would make recommendations to state and local governments, and advocate necessary changes. This could include premium discounts, or incentives to support flood mitigation efforts.

An elevated property saves a home from flooding. Photo via Office of Bucks County.

“Flood insurance can be a financial burden, as of course can being flooded,” said Warren. “The insurance cost increases the overall cost of buying and maintaining a home.”

This affects several groups, including homeowners currently living in flood zones. Less obvious is the potential impact for people who bought their homes when there was no flood zone nearby, and then officials changed the map. The resident then has to make an investment they did not consider before.

“Water and our waterways are great natural resources,” Warren said. “But they pose a flooding risk, and our communities here in Bucks County and throughout Pennsylvania will benefit from this task force and its efforts to mitigate both flooding and flood insurance costs.”

Pennsylvania paid out $773 million for flood insurance between Jan. 1978 and Mar. 2011, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. This places the Keystone State at eighth in the country.