Federal Bill Would Slow Flood Insurance Increases

Many city officials have concerns about the National Flood Insurance Program following the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012, frequently referred to as “BW-12.”.  BW-12 is making flood insurance more costly for many ratepayers.  The following update on federal legislation that would slow those increases is reprinted directly from the National League of Cities:

Tell the House: Vote YES on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3370, As Amended)

Please call your representatives today and urge them to support affordable flood insurance rates for residents in your community.

The U.S. House of Representatives will begin debate this week on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3370, as amended). This bill contains measures to stop, slow, or reverse skyrocketing flood insurance premium rate increases for some properties called for by the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 (BW-12). BW-12 was aimed at assuring the solvency of the deeply indebted National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and requires FEMA to adjust flood insurance premiums to reflect true flood risk and phase out subsidies for properties built before the community adopted its first Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). 

H.R. 3370 was originally introduced as a companion bill to the Senate measure (S. 1926), known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.  However, the original legislative text has been replaced with completely new language.  The amended bill will be considered under a procedure that will require a two-thrids majority vote to pass and does not allow for any amendments.

Today, businesses and homeowners in 22,000 communities in all states and territories have made plans and investments based on the existence of affordable flood insurance. Implementation of BW-12 resulted in drastically increasing annual NFIP premiums for some homeowners and businesses due to the phase-outs of subsidized premium rates.  The rate increases impact local real estate markets, banks and mortgage companies, residents on fixed incomes, and policyholders, who built their communities with the best available information. 

Click here for talking points and your representative’s Washington office phone number.

 NLC’s Policy

NLC urges Congress to pass legislation that will delay the implementation of rate increases until FEMA completes an affordability study and undertakes any other such amendments to BW-12 that will keep flood insurance rates affordable for primary, non-primary, and business properties, while balancing the fiscal solvency of the program. (see full resolution).

Read NLC’s letter to House leadership on this bill.

For more information, contact Yucel Ors, NLC Program Director, Public Safety, at ors@nlc.org or 202-626-3124.

TML member cities may use the material herein for any purpose. No other person or entity may reproduce, duplicate, or distribute any part of this document without the written authorization of the Texas Municipal League.

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