While the U.S. Senate has approved a plan to delay a hike in flood insurance premiums, the measure remains stalled in the House of Representatives. This has Jersey Shore-based Superstorm Sandy victims and officials on edge.

Flooding from Superstorm Sandy
Flooding from Superstorm Sandy (Townsquare Media NJ)

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act would delay the increases for at least four years, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency studies the overall rate structure. As of right now, that is based on the likelihood of problems from previous storms, taking into account recent and past events.

There is a major wrinkle with that plan, however. According to Bill Dressel, who heads the New Jersey League of Municipalities, using Sandy as a gauge is not the smartest way to proceed.

"I am surprised they would even entertain that notion, considering Superstorm Sandy was an anomaly," Dressel said. "There hadn't been a storm like that in New Jersey, ever, and it is wrong to use that. It will increase those premiums past the point of affordability for thousands of families, some of whom are dealing with the recovery."

If it fails to pass, a premium that now costs hundreds of dollars could balloon into the thousands, as part of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

"If the House doesn't approve, this could spell disaster for many homeowners," Dressel said. "Several mayors in Ocean County are drafting a resolution to try and move the process forward."

Officials who attended the recent Ocean County Mayors Association meeting, where Dressel was a guest speaker, urge residents to contact their local legislators to try and get something done.

The House may consider a modified version of the Senate proposal, but so far no timetable for that has been officially announced.

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