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Maloney: New Yorkers Could Soon See Flood Insurance Rates Skyrocket

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- U.S. Reps. Carolyn Maloney and Nydia Velazquez (D-N.Y.) warned Sunday a dramatic increase that could soon be facing New Yorkers.

The lawmakers joined property and small business owners, co-op residents and other community members Sunday at 200 East End Ave., a co-op building on the Upper East Side that recouped $4 million in damage after Superstorm Sandy, but now reportedly could be hit with astronomical insurance premiums as a result of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

Maloney said in a news release that the rising flood insurance premiums are not affordable, and could deter people from buying insurance at all. Maloney asked for a delay in the rate increases, which she said could raise New Yorkers' premiums by $5,000 to $10,000.

"It is important that we make sure that federal flood insurance is available to New Yorkers and all Americans, but the rate increases prompted by the Flood Insurance Reform Act are absolutely unacceptable," Maloney said in a news release. "These rates will prevent people from obtaining flood insurance, will force people out of their homes and businesses and decrease property values.

Maloney said the National Flood Insurance Program is crucial, but it cannot be built on the backs of hardworking New Yorkers.

"We need to delay these rate increases and draft strong, bi-partisan legislation that will mitigate the harmful effects of these rate increases," she said in the release.

A recent City of New York study indicated that New Yorkers could see their rates jump by as much as $10,000, from current levels as low as $430, as a result of the Flood Insurance Reform Act and upcoming Federal Emergency Management Agency Maps, Maloney's office said.

Her office said New Yorkers from the Upper East Side to Red Hook, Brooklyn and the Rockaways could be affected.

"This is going to have a devastating impact on the community. The rate increases are going to be so unaffordable and, eventually, if people want to leave their homes, they're going to be unable to sell their homes," Rockaway resident Dan Mundy, Sr. of Queens Community Board 14 and the Jamaica Bay Eco-Watchers, said in the release.

The Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 that has prompted the changes removed subsidies that kept federal flood insurance premiums low for more than 1 million policyholders nationwide, the release said. The law will cause rates to jump for about 20 percent of property owners nationwide, the release said.

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