PIA Lauds Mitigation Included in House-Passed Flood Insurance Bill
PIA is pleased that some of the mitigation provisions that we have been advocating in recent weeks were included in the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 (H.R. 3370), which was passed last night in the House by a vote of 306 to 91, with 34 not voting. Because the bill was brought to the floor under an expedited process called suspension of the rules, it needed a 2/3 vote, or 287 to pass. Action now heads to the Senate where Democratic members have suggested they view the House bill favorably.
“Sustainable rate relief for flood insurance policyholders can best be accomplished by reducing insured losses through common sense mitigation practices,” said PIA National Executive Vice President & CEO Mike Becker. “We are heartened that H.R. 3370 included provisions we advocated, such as accounting for flood mitigation activities in estimates of premium rates and instructing FEMA to issue guidelines for property owners that provide alternative methods of mitigation, other than building elevation, to reduce flood risk to residential buildings. A similar PIA-supported measure was included in the Senate bill.”
“We are also pleased that the possibility of enhanced mitigation assistance and the establishment of catastrophe savings accounts are now to be included in the ongoing affordability study mandated in Biggert-Waters (BW-12),” Becker said.
Despite the passage of H.R. 3370, PIA supports the continuing implementation of Biggert-Waters, along with a transition to risk-based rates that takes consumer affordability sufficiently into consideration. We are optimistic that the dialogue that has taken place as a result of the financial hardship faced by some homeowners due to drastic rate increases will focus attention on needed long term solutions, not simply the temporary fixes included in this bill.
PIA strongly supports the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) because it offers critical support to those affected by floods and provides the coverage that the private market is currently unable to insure. However, PIA remains concerned that delaying risk based rates, while providing much-needed relief for many homeowners, does not address the underlying long-term problems of adequate rates and affordability. H.R. 3370 applies a Band-Aid—one that is necessary in some cases—but it does not attempt a cure.