Berger lauds bills to delay NFIP premium hikes
B. Dan Berger
Oct. 30, 2013 – NAFCU President and CEO Dan Berger last night welcomed the introduction of legislation in both the House and Senate that would implement a NAFCU-sought delay in premium increases by the National Flood Insurance Program.
The legislation is “a huge first step in helping millions of credit union members who may face untenable jumps in flood insurance premiums,” Berger said. “NAFCU supports a delay in implementing rate increases until such time that further study can be done to address how a reasonable flood insurance program can be sustained. We hope that this legislation can be advanced in a timely manner.”
The legislation, titled the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act,” was introduced in the Senate by Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and in the House by Reps. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y., and Maxine Waters, D-Calif. Both bills have bipartisan support. The House measure had 58 other original cosponsors; the Senate bill had 13.
Announced on the one-year anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, the legislation would delay premium increases set under a program created by the 2012 Biggerts-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. It would also require the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which oversees the NFIP, to complete an affordability study and propose regulations that address affordability issues.
The study was promised in the 2012 act but had not been accomplished by the time premiums were set to rise.
The bill calls for insurance premium increases for the properties most at risk of flooding to be delayed two years after the completion of the affordability study, which FEMA has estimated would take two years to accomplish.
NAFCU has written lawmakers in the House and Senate urging a delay in NFIP premium hikes, which are expected to be unaffordable for many and lead to a drop in home values.
Tuesday’s legislation would also, among other things, eliminate a 50 percent cap on state and local contributions to levee constructions and repairs. It would also create a Flood Insurance Rate Map Advocate position in FEMA.
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