November 18, 2013

NAFCU ramps up call for delayed NFIP hikes

Nov. 19, 2013 – Ahead of a House Financial Services subcommittee hearing to review implementation of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act, NAFCU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Brad Thaler urged the subcommittee leadership to stop triggered increases in federal flood insurance premiums until a mandated affordability study is completed.

"Failure to act in this regard could mean that premiums will skyrocket for many Americans struggling in these uncertain times," Thaler wrote in a letter Monday to House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance Chairman Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, and Ranking Member Michael Capuano, D-Mass."New premiums could be unaffordable to many, dropping home values in a tenuous economy.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."

Some NFIP premiums are going up this year under the 2012 statute. The Federal Emergency Management Agency says the increases will primarily affect those whose policies are currently subsidized – about 20 percent of policy holders – and will have the most effect on properties within a "special flood hazard area." FEMA says a 25 percent annual premium increase will immediately affect 5 percent of subsidized policies.

In July, House Financial Services Committee Ranking Member Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and other House members from both sides of the aisle urged FEMA to prevent these increases. The "Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act" was introduced with bipartisan support last month in the House and Senate to delay premium increases.

NAFCU has meanwhile joined with 15 other groups in seeking a summit on the 2012 NFIP reform provisions.

Today's hearing, "Implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012: Protecting Taxpayers and Homeowners" begins at 1:30 p.m. Eastern.