Congress Acts to Delay Sharp Increases in Flood Insurance Premiums

Flood Insurance RatesWith some homeowners facing sharp increases in flood insurance premiums from the Biggert-Waters Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which went into effect Oct. 2013, Congress is working to find affordable solutions for homeowners in coastal areas.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013, introduced on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, Oct. 29, 2013, hopes to delay implementation of Biggert-Waters Act until an affordability study can determine the extent of the burden the act places on homeowners insurance rates.

Congresswoman Pushes for Homeowners Insurance Affordability Act

In a recent open letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio), Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson (R-Fla.) urged Congress to stop exorbitant increases on flood insurance rates brought about by Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA). Wilson argues that the increases will devastate the most vulnerable homeowners still struggling with the repercussions of the recent recession.

In her letter dated Dec. 12, 2013, Wilson explained:

“While Congress’ 2012 Flood Insurance Reform Act was supposed to deal with funding gaps and still ensure homeowners’ access to affordable flood insurance, issues including FEMA’s poor implementation and inaccurate flood zone maps have resulted in unforeseen price increases that — without Congressional action — will only get worse. I urge you to bring a short-term fix to this crisis to the floor for a vote before the House goes into recess at the end of the week. I also urge you to support action to address the long-term factors that are causing unacceptable increases in flood insurance rates.”

Wilson believes that passing the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act will delay flood insurance rate increases until FEMA can complete an affordability study, and devise methods for minimizing hardship for the homeowners who will be hardest hit. Wilson intends to use information from the study to design a lasting solution to the problem of waning FEMA funds and high flood insurance rates.

(Photo credit: Ben Schueddekopf)