Thaler urges delay in NFIP premium hikes
NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Sept. 19, 2013 – Concerns NAFCU raised in a letter Wednesday about proposed increases in flood insurance premiums were echoed by lawmakers during a Senate Banking Subcommittee on Economic Policy hearing on implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012.
The letter, from NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler, urged the subcommittee’s leaders to push for a delay in the scheduled increase in premiums for the National Flood Insurance Program at least until such time as a required study on the affordability impact is completed.
At the hearing, Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Mary Landrieu, D-La., both raised concerns about the extent of the increase in insurance premiums and how that would affect the middle class. Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator William Fugate, a hearing witness, said FEMA is not able to change the regulations written for the law. Any change must come from Congress, he said.
In his letter to subcommittee Chairman Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Dean Heller, R-Nev., on Tuesday, Thaler noted concerns that drastic premium increases could be harmful to home owners and the housing market.
Thaler said that increased premiums would cause insurance to be unaffordable to many people and lead to a drop in home values. “We are already hearing reports from our member credit unions that these impacts are beginning to materialize, so any action on this matter must be timely,” Thaler wrote.
“As you examine the issue of flood insurance, NAFCU urges the Subcommittee to support efforts to delay the National Flood Insurance Program premium increases scheduled to take place as early as October 1 until at least such time as the Federal Emergency Management Agency completes its affordability impact study and Congress is able to review its findings,” Thaler wrote.