Addressing Flood Insurance Affordability

Bill Seigel, Chief of SEDA-COG’s Community Development program, provided an overview of the Biggert-Waters Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and its impacts on flood insurance at a recent public meeting in Danville.

SEDA-Council of Governments (SEDA-COG) has begun an education and training process that helps municipalities and residents in the region find solutions to flood-related issues.

SEDA-COG received funding for the completion of a planning process to develop a Self-Help Assessment Tool for several central Pennsylvania riverine communities. The assessment is aimed at assisting the municipality and its citizens in defining and designing flood resiliency strategies and to better implement those strategies. The planning process has been tested in the pilot community of Selinsgrove and are proposed to be replicated in five additional communities to include the boroughs of Milton, Danville, Newport, and Lewisburg; and the Town of Bloomsburg

Specific project activities include public meetings to educate and increase awareness about flood-impacts and flood insurance reform. A meeting was held in Danville on May 18 and the Bloomsburg meeting is Tuesday, May 30, at 6 p.m. at Town Hall. Residents learn how to develop a response to these threats through a series of community working groups and data analysis. The community teams identify appropriate flood-mitigation options, match structures with best-suited options to mitigate flood impacts, and identify means of financing those options. Additionally, SEDA-COG will assist each community with the creation of a Flood Task Force Committee, and members of this Task Force will be recommended to Council for approval. The Task Force Committee members will vary from community to community, but may be comprised of a combination of citizens, insurance agents, real estate agents, and Council members. 

SEDA-COG has also entered into a contractual agreement with a professional services provider to provide discounted Elevation Certificates for citizens in these communities. The need for Elevation Certificates has become increasing important with the increase in flood insurance, particularly for Pre-FIRM structures with the enactment of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and the Homeowner Affordability Act of 2014. 

The completion of this initiative will allow SEDA-COG to examine legislative solutions to flood insurance reform with local, state, and federal officials.  For more information, or to participate in either the Danville or Bloomsburg working group, contact Teri Provost at SEDA-COG at 1-800-332-6701.