New Pennsylvania task force to increase accessibility to flood insurance
A new task force in Pennsylvania will make policy recommendations to increase accessibility and affordability for flood insurance. Officials say climate change is speeding up the need for more people to get insured against flooding.
The task force will recommend possible programs to provide premium discounts and programs to incentivize local governments to support flood mitigation efforts. It will also look to increase the number of people who buy flood insurance.
Pennsylvania Insurance Department Commissioner Michael Humphreys said flooding can affect homes and businesses anywhere in the state.
“And we're not just talking about feet of water when I talk about flooding. According to FEMA, just one inch of flood water can cause up to $25,000 in damage. And unfortunately, just about 1% of households in the state, which is around 51,000 households, are currently insured against flooding," Humphreys said.
Governor Josh Shapiro said floods are happening more often across Pennsylvania because of intense storms from climate change.
“These storms cause real damage to Pennsylvanians' lives and livelihoods. And so as temperatures rise, we'll continue to see worse storms happen across Pennsylvania. We'll have to be better prepared," Shapiro said.
Bucks County Commissioner Bob Harvie echoed Shapiro's statement and noted a deadly flash flood this summer in Bucks County that killed seven people.
“We know that this bill, which has been a long time coming, will help property owners but also help us deal with the reality that these floods are no longer sort of freaks of nature," Harvie said.
The task force will open a public comment period later this month on how to make flood insurance more widely available. Shapiro said that report will be ready by next summer, and his administration will get started on its recommendations immediately.
The Pennsylvania Insurance Department says standard homeowner’s or renter’s policies do not cover damages from a flood. You can buy flood insurance through private insurers, or visit the department’s website to find flood coverage resources.