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Protecting Vulnerable Homeowners by Offering Access to Landslide and Sinkhole Insurance Coverage

Sixty years ago, our Legislature recognized that coal and clay mine subsidence was devastating homeowners across our Commonwealth by causing significant damage to their property and homes. It was through no fault of their own and there was no remedy available through the private insurance market. Thus, in a first-of-its-kind program, the Coal and Clay Mine Subsidence Insurance Program was born.

Now, House Bill 589, legislation I am co-sponsoring with Rep. Emily Kinkead (D-Allegheny), proposes to expand that program to protect vulnerable homeowners across the Commonwealth by giving them access to landslide and sinkhole insurance coverage at fair prices, setting up a mechanism to evaluate potential landslide risks, and providing tools and incentives to communities and individuals to reduce losses to landslides.

The program would continue to be run by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP). House Bill 589 would expand the current Coal and Clay Mine Subsidence Board by adding two members: the Director of the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency (PEMA), or a designee, and the Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR), or a designee. The board also would be tasked with creating and implementing a statewide landslide mitigation plan.

The program would address the impacts of coal and clay mine subsidence, landslides and sinkholes in the following ways:

  •   A grant program.
  •   A revolving loan program.
  •   An insurance program.

This insurance would be available, upon completion of a full application submitted to the board, only to owners of structures located within coal regions or areas deemed to be at extreme risk for landslides or sinkholes. The board would need to approve or deny any applications, as well as set a premium for each successful application, within 60 days of application.

Local governments would be able to adopt land-use controls that impact whether landslide insurance is necessary. Communities that have adopted the most prevention measures would also receive the best/lowest rates for landslide insurance. Communities also would benefit with credits on flood insurance rates if the measures they adopt to reduce erosion also reduce the likelihood of floods as well as landslides.

In October, I hosted a press conference introducing House Bill 589. The goal of this legislation is to help protect Pennsylvania homeowners from the damage caused by naturally occurring landslides. Too many Pennsylvanians face financial ruin through no fault of their own because of landslides.

Click here to watch my comments.


Valerie Gaydos
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District Office:
1005 Beaver Grade Road, Suite 106, Moon Township, PA 15108 | Phone: (412) 262-3780, Fax: (412) 262-3783
Capitol Office:
Room 428, Irvis Office Building, House Box 202044, Harrisburg PA 17120-2044 | Phone: (717) 787-6651 |
Email: vgaydos@pahousegop.com