Senate Delays Flood Insurance Premium Increases
On Jan. 30, the Senate approved the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (S. 1926), legislation that would provide relief from rising flood insurance premium rates for site owners across the nation. Premium increases for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders had been scheduled to take effect this year. The bill, which was introduced by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ), delays the increases for about four years.
Last year's Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act created affordability concerns due to significant increases in flood insurance premiums. And there are also concerns related to remapping of the Flood Insurance Rate Maps. If not corrected, these issues will severely impact the sale and construction of new homes and remodeling in many communities across the nation.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act would:
- Delay insurance rate increases for all primary residences until an affordability study is completed.
- Require that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) take into account all local flood control structures while mapping.
- Allow consumers to appeal FEMA’s mapping decisions and to be reimbursed for their appeal expenses.
- Reinstate an exemption in 53 communities nationwide for basements that are built a certain way.
The House may consider flood insurance legislation soon, but, despite its strong support in the Senate, it is unclear whether it will pass. House of Representatives leaders have expressed opposition to the bill, which they argue would deny NFIP the funds it needs to restore its fiscal health.