EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


March 3, 2014

Lawmakers try to hold back surge in flood insurance

Rep. Costello leads attempt to stem rate hikes


The press for relief from insurance rate spikes comes amid simultaneous warnings from public officials that climate change is causing more severe storms and requires government to take action to reduce carbon emissions and better protect public assets.

Recently, Plum Island and Hull have experienced the destructive power of seawater, and the increased flood insurance rates have changed the demographics of those building homes along the beach, according to Rep. Ann-Margaret Ferrante, a Gloucester Democrat.

“I can’t imagine that a homeowner would not want to make sure that it’s built on solid ground, so to speak,” said Ferrante, who said people who can afford to pay cash have more freedom in where they build. She told the News Service, “I’ve seen some folks in my district build homes knowing they wouldn’t be insurable, and taking the risk that if there’s a storm – they love the ocean so much that if there’s a storm, they’ll personally incur the loss. And I’ve seen other folks redesign their homes based on the fact that there are storms, and in anticipation of what rising tides may bring.”

Asked whether there should be a gradual withdrawal from the ocean, Coakley told reporters the sea has made incursions into Massachusetts.

“We do know that we’ve seen erosion consistently. We argued before the EPA that Cape Cod is losing a foot a year as a result of climate change, and so those are risks that homeowners – particularly new builders – are going to have to address,” Coakley said.

The State House News Service contributed to this report.

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