Senators push FEMA to implement flood insurance reform

Greenville-flood-water-webWASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. David Vitter (R-La.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.) have sent a letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate requesting a meeting to discuss a plan to implement the recently passed flood insurance reform law and reinstating rates as Congress intended.

The senators want Fugate to explain why property owners continue to be charged higher flood insurance rates, despite a bipartisan law in March to protect them from such unaffordable premium costs.

Vitter said, “It’s been nearly a month since we’ve passed the law and FEMA has done virtually nothing to protect flood insurance policy holders. FEMA needs to take action immediately because if policies lapse, people could literally lose their homes – a risk that new rates would protect against.”

On March 21, President Obama signed into law the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act,” which permanently reinstates grandfathering and protects against unaffordable rate increases. Since then, the senators say they have learned that FEMA continues to charge participants in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with increased rates the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.

Below is the text of their letter:

“It has come to our attention that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) continues to charge participants in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) increased rates prescribed by the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-141). We understand that implementing the recently enacted Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (P.L. 113-89) will take time  It is completely unacceptable, however, that since President Obama signed the law on March 21, 2014, you have not made it a priority to protect these policy holders.

“The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act stops most of the significant rate increases enacted through Biggert-Waters. Furthermore, FEMA officials have informed our offices that these unaffordable, outdated rates will continue until new guidance is issued – which could be months. We have also been told that if our constituents do not pay the increased rates prescribed by Biggert Waters, their policies will lapse. If their policies lapse, they will lose their opportunity to access the rates allowed under the recently passed legislation.

“Attention needs to be paid to this issue immediately, and you must develop a plan to quickly implement the new law and to shield the policy holders protected by the law if they cannot afford to continue making these astronomical payments.

“Congress has acted in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner to protect these policyholders. FEMA must act with the same sense of urgency. We request a meeting, as soon as possible, with you to discuss a plan for your agency to implement the new law and reinstating rates as Congress intended. Please respond to this request by Friday, April 18, 2014. We await your reply.”

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5 Responses to “Senators push FEMA to implement flood insurance reform”

  1. Senators push FEMA to implement flood insurance reform | Black in Mississippi Says:

    […] MBJ Staff WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Sens. David Vitter (R-La.), Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and John Hoeven […]

  2. Barbara A. Says:

    This is happening to me right now. My flood policy expired on March 28, just a few days after the new law was passed. Due to a change in my area’s flood maps from moderate risk to high risk, the insurance company is quoting me a rate over 1,000% higher than my old policy. If FEMA does not implement the new law immediately, I will be stuck having to come up with over $4,000 to pay for the new policy. I do not have that much extra money! What happens to people like me while FEMA is piddling around not doing any implementation of the law? My mortage company will force place flood insurance on my property, probably at an even higher cost, if I cannot pay the new high rate to my present insurance company.

  3. BBT Says:

    This is happening to me right now. My flood policy expired on March 28, just a few days after the new law was signed. Due to the change in my area’s flood maps, my insurance company is quoting me a rate over 1,000% higher than my old policy cost. This means I have to somehow come up with over $4,000 right away. I don’t have that much money. The law was supposed to protect me from a financial disaster like this, but FEMA is piddling around not doing anything to implement the law.

  4. Heather Says:

    We had to take our house off the market after 3 buyers walked away over flood insurance. They simply could not afford our very humble home due to premium increase. After Obama signed the new flood relief bill,we were sure our grandfathered rate could surely be passed on. NOPE. Another offer rescinded. State Farm said nothing has changed yet. Obama May have signed it but absolutely nothing has changed and we were told it could be a year to 18 months before any buyers could take on our grandfathered rate. (We have never flooded in 30 years). So we had to take our house off the market because there was no point. We saved and prepared for years to be able to sell while others were dropping the ball and changing the game. We can’t do a single thing until FEMA gets moving.

  5. Bob Says:

    We thought our house was sold. Moved out 1 week before closing only to find out the least expensive flood policy for the new buyer was $11,378 per year. This is for a house 1/4 mile away from a creek, and my house is assessed at $92,000. How can anyone afford this!

    I’m glad they passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. Now I get 18% per year increases till it hits the $11,000 per year rate. My whole neighborhood is facing the same situation and politicians don’t want to hear it.

    Frustrated in CNY

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