Breathe Easy - Flood Insurance Hike Is Delayed!
Robyn Paul with Harbor National Bank sent me this article that will bring a big sigh of relief for all of us living on the coast of the US:
Bipartisan Deal Reached to Delay Flood Insurance Premium Hikes: Waters
Key House and Senate members have reached a bipartisan deal to delay changes to the federal flood insurance program that are raising premiums for many homeowners. The bill would require regulators to address affordability of the coverage before implementing rate hikes.
Rep. Maxine Waters, ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, announced the bipartisan legislative fix for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that she said will assure that “changes are implemented affordably.”
Waters was a chief architect of the bipartisan Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act that ordered an end to many premium subsidies for property owners and a remapping of communities along with other changes that are resulting in many homeowners facing big premium hikes and more property owners being told they must buy flood coverage. In some areas, the premiums hikes are beginning to affect home sales.
The Biggert-Waters law was intended to help reduce the debt of the NFIP, a debt now estimated at more than $25 billion, by bringing rates charged more in line with the risk and losses in flood-prone areas.
The new legislation calls for a four-year delay in most rate increases and requires FEMA, which administers the flood program, to complete an affordability study and propose regulations that address affordability issues.
The bipartisan deal comes after several weeks of negotiations with Democrats and Republicans in the House and Senate. Waters said that on Oct. 9, in the midst of the government shutdown, she convened a bipartisan meeting of nearly 20 House members, as well as Senate staff, to build consensus around an agreement to delay and fix the program.
“Over the past several months, I have felt the harm and heartache that many Americans have already experienced as a result of changes to the National Flood Insurance Program. From the start, I have made clear that I would lead the effort to fix the unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act,” said Waters in a statement released by her office announcing the deal.
She said the legislation will be released this week in the House and Senate. It will impose a delay likely to total four years for the most vulnerable properties, by delaying implementation of rate increases until two years after FEMA completes an affordability study, which was mandated in Biggert-Waters but not undertaken.
In addition, the legislation requires FEMA to propose regulations that address the affordability issues within 18 months after the completion of the study and establishes a six month moratorium thereafter to provide for Congressional review.