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Local Expert Speaks Before Congress On Flood Insurance Issues

March 27, 2017
In The News

WESTHAMPTON BEACH, NY — For years, East End residents have benefitted from Aram Terchunian's expertise on a plethora of coastal issues.

Last week, Congressman Lee Zeldin invited Westhampton Beach resident Terchunian, who's president of First Coastal Corporation, to testify as a witness at a Housing and Insurance Subcommittee hearing, “Flood Insurance Reform: A Community Perspective.”

Another Long Island resident, Melissa Luckman, Director of Disaster Law at Touro Law School, in Central Islip, New York, also participated in the hearing.

“The Housing and Insurance Subcommittee is currently considering the best path forward for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and how to improve it to protect the solvency of the program and affordability for Long Island taxpayers," Zeldin said.

Zeldin said he has heard from Long Island homeowners who "face difficulties navigating the complicated process and cutting through bureaucratic red tape when seeking an improvement in their premiums after an investment has been made to elevate a home or take other steps to protect a property."

Terchunian, Zeldin said, has 30 years of experience in storm mitigation and coastal restoration work, dealing directly with the NFIP on a daily basis; his firsthand experiences made him a valuable panelist, he added.

“After getting FEMA’s perspective on flood insurance reform last week, this week’s hearing was an opportunity to hear a perspective from those whose community depend on the National Flood Insurance Program," said Congressman Duffy, Chairman of the Housing and Insurance Subcommittee.

"Especially after Superstorm Sandy, it’s important to learn from FEMA’s claims review process, how to prepare against flood damage through better mitigation, and to better understand the barriers to entry for private flood insurance providers who may be able to offer consumers better costs and services, including claims handling," he added.

Of the experience, Terchunian said, "I was honored to be invited by Congressman Zeldin to testify before Congress on the importance of the National Flood Insurance Program to Long Island residents. Flood mitigation projects, such as the Fire Island to Montauk Point, or FIMP, project are critical to the protection of Long Islanders and lowering flood insurance risk.”

Terchunian told Patch, "It was obvious to me that reform of the NFIP is a bipartisan issue and that the members of the Subcommittee are well informed and focused on the issue.”

The Subcommittee's full hearing can be viewed here.