Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (R,C,I-East Shore), State Senator Diane Savino (D,W,I-North Shore), and Assemblyman Matthew Titone (D,W,I-North Shore) are urging holders of flood insurance policies to check their statements for a surcharge that has been automatically been added to their premiums. FEMA is now charging an additional of $25 for primary homes and $250 for second homes, however, the burden has been placed on the homeowner to notify FEMA that the structure is a primary residence. This is an annual surcharge that will continue being applied in subsequent years.

This presumption was brought to the attention of the three lawmakers by The Center For New York City Neighborhoods (“The Center”), a non-profit that is working to alert homeowners to the regulation changes, explain their options in facing these added costs, and raise awareness about how these new national regulations will disproportionately hurt New York City so that changes can be made as they go into effect.

“It’s fairly clear to everyone who’s been dealing with FEMA over the last few years that the National Flood Insurance Program is broken and, quite frankly, with the program being more than $24 billion in debt, it seems like FEMA is trying to pass their pain onto policyholders by charging them a higher, unwarranted fee and hoping they don’t notice,” said Assemblywoman Malliotakis. “I urge policyholders to take notice of this fee on their bills and provide their insurance carrier with the documentation necessary so they can be refunded their hard earned money.”

“The surcharge being added on to bills of countless policyholders, many of which are still financially recovering from Superstorm Sandy and Irene is unconscionable,” said Senator Savino. “I urge all policyholders to examine their bills thoroughly, and to double check any charges that may appear new to them. Contact your insurance provider immediately so you can provide the proper documentation to retrieve your money.”

“Perhaps this wasn’t meant to be an intentional unscrupulous con, but it smacks of one,” said Assemblyman Titone. “Homeowners now need to check their statements to ensure they are being billed appropriately or will face paying an exorbitant fee.”

“We encourage homeowners to check their insurance bills for this new surcharge. If the home is your primary residence, make sure you are only paying $25, not $250. We must become a more resilient city, but not at the cost of becoming an unaffordable city. Homeowners can visit to learn everything they need to know about flood insurance and their flood risk,” said Christie Peale, Executive Director of the Center for NYC Neighborhoods.

New Yorkers who live in the flood zone will see their insurance rate increase by up to 18% — and for families whose homes were damaged during Superstorm Sandy and Irene, they could see rates go up by as much as 25%. This means hundreds of more dollars out of homeowners’ pockets every year, which will especially hurt the tens of thousands of families living in the flood zone. Local businesses will also see their rates go up by up to 25%.