Flood Insurance

Keystone Crossroads

Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania is hundreds of miles from the boardwalk and the beach, but mere steps from the Susquehanna River. And while no one has made a reality show about this sleepy town yet, they do share one similarity with their namesake: flooding.

City of Pittsburgh

Businesses in the West End neighborhood of Pittsburgh are paying for flood insurance they might not really need anymore.

That’s according to Patrick Hassett, Assistant Director of Public Works, who said work begun by the Army Corps of Engineers in 2000 has largely stamped out the threat of flooding from Sawmill Run.

“We dredged and put in retaining walls along the stream bed to better contain the flooding waters, and PennDOT came in and made highway improvements that elevated some of the bridges to reduce the obstructions,” Hassett said.

The one idea state lawmakers heard to help homeowners facing rising flood insurance rates may have been a dud.

A Lycoming County floodplain manager told lawmakers in January: If you want a long-term way to help flood zone property owners, set up a loan bank.

Fran McJunkin said the state was in the perfect position to provide low-cost loans to people trying to flood-proof their homes.

“I think it’s really important that people are responsible for the mitigation themselves,” McJunkin said. “And this is not a giveaway program. This would be helping people find a path.”

The implications of a federal law on flood insurance rates will be the topic of an upcoming hearing in Harrisburg.

A 2012 law designed to make property owners pay for the risk of living in high flood hazard areas has resulted in swift increases to flood insurance premiums.

Republican state Sen. Gene Yaw of Lycoming County said it’s likely many Pennsylvanians living near a river have already seen the higher rates.