Property owners in shoreline communities across the city are preparing to rally this weekend to protest coming hikes on government flood insurance. NY1's Arlene Borenstein filed the following report.
Dan Mundy, the president of the Broad Channel Civic Association, is going to businesses in Broad Channel with a warning. Federal flood insurance rates are going up, and many shoreline communities are going to feel it soon.
"A lot of people are not aware of the full implications, and when they hear about it, at first, they think it's a bad joke," Mundy said.
Last year, even before Hurricane Sandy, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, revised its National Flood Insurance Program to keep it from going broke following a series of natural disasters. The agency says it can no longer afford to offer what it calls low rates to insure properties in flood-risk areas.
Starting Tuesday, businesses in those areas will have to pay 25 percent more for flood insurance, and that will go up 25 percent each year until their rate matches their risk, which is determined by FEMA.
Broad Channel business owner Robert Pisani said he's shocked, considering he can't afford flood insurance now.
"I have a loan on all the equipment here, about $315,000 loan, which they need me, they want me to protect it by flood insurance, by wind, everything," Pisani said. "I can't even get someone to write the policy here, and after about a month, I finally found someone to write it, but it's extremely high."
Pisani plans on going to a rally this weekend in Broad Channel to speak out against the rising rates. Mundy helped organize it.
Other business owners say they'd rather not have flood insurance at all.
"A lot of people that did have flood insurance didn't get anything from FEMA, and people that had flood insurance didn't get any good checks from their insurance companies," said one person. "So what's the point?"
"While you might have survived the storm, what's going to kill you is the bureaucrats and particularly, this legislation," Mundy said.
Hundreds of people are expected to attend at the American Legion at noon on Saturday. It's expected to be one of the largest events to come to Broad Channel in decades.