Congress Delays Some Flood Insurance Rate Increases
The Senate (72-26) joined the House of Representatives (359-67) on January 16 in passing a $1.1 trillion compromise omnibus spending bill that contains a delay for an estimated one quarter of those facing flood insurance premium increases triggered by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12).
Prospects for a broader and longer four-year delay of flood insurance changes were called into question when House leadership indicated it does not support a four-year delay.
The budget language on flood insurance would block the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from spending any money for the remainder of this fiscal year (through Sept. 30, 2014) to enforce higher premiums under Section 207 of Biggert-Waters. This section ends current “grandfathered” subsidized rates for existing policyholders who are now facing premium increases due to remapping. These properties were built in accordance with building codes at the time of construction but are now considered to be out of compliance due to new flood maps.
The amendment to the omnibus spending measure was attached in the Senate by Mary Landrieu (D-La.), Chair of the Senate’s Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) appropriations subcommittee. The provision was also included in the House. President Obama has signed the omnibus spending measure.
Meanwhile, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act that Landrieu, Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) sponsored, which would delay most of the increases resulting from the BW-12 for four years, is scheduled for a cloture vote in the Senate on January 27. But House Speaker John Boehner told the Associated Press that the House of Representatives will not consider a four-year delay in flood insurance reforms and premium increases. However, Boehner said the House may consider some flood insurance changes “in the weeks and months ahead that both help homeowners and protect taxpayers.”
Congress Combines NARAB II and NFIP (National Underwriter 1/20/14)