The House of Representatives passed a bill earlier this week aimed to protect millions of American homeowners and business from large increase in their flood insurance premiums.
In a 306-91 vote, House sent the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 to the Senate for likely final approval. The Bill aims to limit increases to no more than 18 percent. Republicans were split with 126 supporting the legislation and 86 voting no with just five Democrats opposed it.
This new legislation scales back premium increases which were required under a 2012 law known as Biggert-Waters that was aimed to keep government’s flood insurance program financially solvent by bringing rates in line with true flooding risks—unfortunately, people saw their flood insurance rates go up by thousands of dollars.
It’s been documented that a family on Bethel Island had their premium go from $2,100 to over $12,600 annually. Meanwhile, in the Point Pleasant area south of Elk Grove, a 1,500-square-foot home will increase from $800 to $4,500 per year. Meanwhile, in Yolo County’s Merritt Island a home’s flood insurance increase from $1,000 annually to an estimated at $12,079 a year.
Here is the Congressman McNerney’s statement:
Washington D.C. –Congressman Jerry McNerney’s (CA-09) issued the following statement on the vote by the House of Representatives to approve the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.
“I’m pleased to have voted for this bill yesterday, and I’m glad that the House acted in a bipartisan fashion to update our flood policy in a commonsense way.”
“The bill contains several provisions that will help families in our region. It ends dramatic rate increases caused by events such as property sales – and restores grandfathered rates for those who played by the rules and built their properties according to code. Most importantly, this bill provides significant relief in the form of a refund for families that have been hit by unaffordable premium increases.”
Summary: H.R.3370 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)
03/04/2014 Passed/agreed to in House: On motion to suspend the rules and pass the bill, as amended Agreed to by the Yeas and Nays: (2/3 required): 306 – 91 (Roll no. 91).(text: CR H2128-2132)
Introduced in House (10/29/2013)
Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 – Prohibits the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from: (1) increasing flood insurance risk premium rates to reflect the current risk of flood for certain property located in specified areas subject to a certain mandatory premium adjustment, or (2) reducing such subsidies for any property not insured by the flood insurance program as of July 6, 2012, or any policy that has lapsed in coverage as a result of the policyholder’s deliberate choice (Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map or pre-FIRM properties). Sets forth expiration dates for such prohibitions.
Amends the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (NFIA) to prohibit the Administrator from providing flood insurance to prospective insureds at rates less than those estimated for any property purchased after the expiration of such six-month period (currently, any property purchased after July 6, 2012).
Directs FEMA to: (1) restore during such six-month period specified estimated risk premium rate subsidies for flood insurance for pre-FIRM properties and properties purchased after such six-month period, and (2) submit to certain congressional committees a draft affordability framework addressing the affordability of flood insurance sold under the National Flood Insurance Program.
Prescribes procedures for expedited congressional consideration of legislation on FEMA affordability authorities.
Permits FEMA to enter into an agreement with another federal agency either to: (1) complete the affordability study, or (2) prepare the draft affordability framework.
Directs FEMA submit to certain congressional committees the affordability study and report.
Amends NFIA to authorize FEMA to reimburse homeowners for successful map appeals.
Makes any community that has made adequate progress on the construction (as under current law) or reconstruction (new) of a flood protection system which will afford flood protection for the one-hundred year frequency flood eligible for flood insurance at premium rates not exceeding those which would apply if such flood protection system had been completed.
Revises guidelines governing availability of flood insurance in communities restoring disaccredited flood protection systems to include riverine and coastal levees.
Requires FEMA to: (1) rate a covered structure using the elevation difference between the floodproofed elevation of the covered structure and the adjusted base flood elevation of the covered structure; and (2) designate a Flood Insurance Advocate to advocate for the fair treatment of policy holders under the National Flood Insurance Program and property owners in the mapping of flood hazards, the identification of risks from flood, and the implementation of measures to minimize the risk of flood.