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NFIP Rate Delay Introduced With 57 Co-sponsors
WASHINGTON (10/30/13)--As expected, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House yesterday that would delay planned National Flood Insurance Plan rate increases for up to four years and implement other reforms.
On the one year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, a bipartisan coalition of 57 House members signed on in support of the bill whose lead sponsors are identified in a release as Reps. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) and Cedric Richmond (D-La.).
The bill calls for a four-year delay to the program and requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to complete an insurance affordability study and propose a framework that addresses affordability issues. A companion measure has been introduced in the Senate by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).
Specifically, the legislation will accomplish the following:
  • Imposes 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;
  • Requires FEMA to propose an affordability framework that addresses the identified affordability issues within 18 months after the completion of the study and provides six months for congressional review.
  • Allows FEMA to utilize National Flood Insurance Funds to reimburse policyholders who successfully appeal a map determination;
  • Eliminates the 50% cap on state and local contributions to levee construction and reconstruction;
  • Protects the so-called "basement exception," which allows the lowest flood-proofed opening in a home to be used for determining flood insurance rates;
  • Establishes a Flood Insurance Rate Map Advocate within FEMA to answer current and prospective policyholder questions about the flood mapping process; and
  • Requires FEMA to certify that the agency has fully adopted a modernized risk-based approach to analyzing flood risk.

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