Md. Lawmakers Push For Flood Insurance Changes After Ellicott City Flooding

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The deadly and historic flooding in Ellicott City was almost one year ago.
The disaster proved to a wake-up call for a number of business and homeowners as they began the process of recovering their losses, particularly when it came time to deal with flood insurance.

On Tuesday, several lawmakers including Maryland Senator Chris Van Hollen made it a point to say ‘we can do better.’

George Solis explains what changes could be on the horizon

Senator Van Hollen says flood insurance can admittedly be a very confusing area which isn’t good, especially if you need it, as many did during the Ellicott City flooding. So, he and other lawmakers say it’s time for a change.

The raging waters that tore through historic Main Street in Ellicott City last July destroyed many homes and businesses.

Several accounts of water rising as high as six feet during the deadly deluge.

Though many have been able to rebuild, they admit getting back to normal in Ellicott City has not been an easy endeavor.

Donna Sanger tells WJZ she was in for a rude awakening when it came to time to rely on her flood insurance to help cover the damage.

Like many other businesses, Sanger found their insurance didn’t really meet her needs.

“Although we were paying for building repair and contents coverage, the contents of the store that we lost ended up having almost having no coverage,” she says.

Now lawmakers like  Van Hollen are looking to change that by revamping the National Flood Insurance Program, which business and families have been counting on for decades for affordable coverage.

“It will also help provide clarity to the flood insurance market. This is probably one of the most confusing areas if not the most confusing area of insurance,” says Senator Van Hollen.

In historic Ellicott City, time literally stood still after the historic, deadly flooding, as some business owners say changes to flood insurance are long overdue.

Especially for people like Sally Tennant, who gave up on flood insurance years ago.

“Make it affordable, make the coverage fair that it will truly help the victims of a flood,” says Tennant.

Plans for those changes have reportedly been in the works since Superstorm Sandy.

Van Hollen and fellow lawmakers are aiming to eliminate what they call “rampant waste and abuse” in the hopes of helping those who’ve experienced tragedy.

Van Hollen noted on Tuesday, another reason to overhaul the program: Maryland’s flood maps are extremely outdated. The average age of a map is 18 years old.

Congress has to reauthorize the flood insurance progran which expires on September 30, 2017.

More from George Solis
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