Hoboken, N.J., Mayor Urges Congress to Fix Flood Claim Rules

December 17, 2012

Hoboken, N.J., Mayor Dawn Zimmer told a U.S. Senate committee Hurricane Sandy caused $100 million in damages to the square-mile city across the Hudson River from Manhattan.

A flooded backyard in a Hoboken, N.J. neighborhood, on Nov. 1. The storm surge severely flooded much of Hoboken in immediate days after Sandy. Photo credit: Liz Roll/FEMA.
Zimmer testified before the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship on Dec. 13, where she urged lawmakers to fix rules preventing some from collecting on flood insurance claims.

The issue is properties located below street level.

People who live or have businesses in flood zones are required to carry flood insurance. But if the dwelling is even one or two steps below street level, the National Flood Insurance Program considers it a basement and FEMA limits claims to items like boilers and electrical panels.

Zimmer says the rules don’t reflect urban realities.

She appealed to Congress to fix the “flood insurance trap.”

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