WASHINGTON (10/29/13)--Legislation that would delay planned National Flood Insurance Plan rate increases for up to four years and implement other reforms will soon be introduced by House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.).
The bill, Waters noted last week, has strong bipartisan backing. She worked with nearly 20 House members, as well as Senate staff from both parties, to develop the legislation. "This bill is critical and much needed. I urge House and Senate leaders to take up this measure without delay," Waters said.
The bill would correct some issues contained in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which extended the NFIP until Sept. 30, 2017. That bill also called for the phasing out of subsidies for many properties, raising the cap on annual premium increases, allowing multifamily properties to purchase NFIP policies, imposing minimum deductibles for flood claims, requiring the NFIP administrator to develop a plan for repaying the debt incurred from Hurricane Katrina, and establishing a technical mapping advisory council to deal with map modernization issues.
Waters' new bill would delay implementation of the planned rate increases until two years after the Federal Emergency Management Agency completes an NFIP affordability study. FEMA would also need to propose regulations that address any affordability issues identified in this study within 18 months of the study's completion.
The new NFIP legislation would also:
- Allow FEMA to use NFIP funds to reimburse policyholders that successfully appeal a map determination;
- Eliminate a 50% cap on state and local contributions to levee construction and reconstruction;
- Protect the "basement exception," which allows the lowest proofed opening in a home to be used for determining flood insurance rates;
- Establish a Flood Insurance Rate Map Advocate within FEMA to answer current and prospective policyholder questions about the flood mapping process; and
- Require FEMA to certify that the agency has fully adopted a modernized risk-based approach to analyzing flood risk.
For more on the bill, use the resource link.