Victims of Hurricane Sandy gathered outside of Babylon Town Hall on Saturday as part of the nation-wide “Stop FEMA Now” rally. The protesters are responding to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) decision to raise insurance premiums for those affected by last year’s storm.
The rally began at 12 p.m. on Saturday, with people holding signs such as “homeless with a mortgage,” “where is our money?” and “stop FEMA now.” Elected officials, business owners and residents also spoke during the event.
Adopt-a-House and Sandy Support Massapequa Style co-hosted the event. FEMA is set to raise insurance premiums for homeowners by the end of the year.
"These steep unaffordable increases are not only are a blow to recovering homeowners and business owners only, but will eventually affect all of Long Island. As it is there are many families still not home due to circumstances out of their control and massive red tape,” Adopt-a-House vice president Michele Insinga told the Lindenhurst Patch.
In July 2012, the Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The act called for a change in the way that FEMA and other agencies run the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Rally organizers say that insurance rates could increase by as much as 25 percent every year due the act.
According to FEMA’s website, residents with flood insurance would see an added charge in order to collect money for a new reserve fund. “The changes will mean premium rate increases for some—but not all—policyholders over time,” the website adds.
Almost a year after the storm has hit, many Long Island homeowners and small businesses are still reeling from Hurricane Sandy. Starting October 1st, owners of business properties with subsidized premiums – among others - will see a 25 percent increase in premium rates each year until premiums “reflect full risk rates,” according to FEMA.