US senators from Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi have introduced legislation to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, the main source of insurance for homeowners with subsidized mortgages.
US Senators Bill Cassidy, R-La., John Kennedy, R-La., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., announced legislation on July 14 to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program until On September 30, 2023. This program expires on September 30, 2022 without Congress.
The move comes as the Biden administration is floating 17 legislative proposals to overhaul the program, which is run by the Federal Emergency Management Administration. FEMA is also implementing a new risk rating system called Risk Rating 2.0 that is allowing more policyholders to pay.
“The White House needs to roll back their dangerous Risk Rating 2.0 plan that is increasing the prices for Louisiana families,” Cassidy said. “At this point, we cannot allow the National Flood Insurance Program to lapse and throw homeowners on the brink of hurricane season.”
Kennedy highlighted the 5 million Americans worldwide who rely on the NFIP to protect their homes and businesses, including 500,000 in Louisiana.
“Louisiana families rely on their flood systems to help them when severe weather destroys their homes and businesses,” he said. “Between hurricanes and flooding, I cannot express enough the importance of expanding the NFIP in my state, especially not now that we are in the middle of hurricane season.”
The one-year reauthorization contrasts with a letter to lawmakers from Alice Lugo, assistant legal secretary at the Department of Homeland Security, which called for a 10-year extension of the program, as well as 17 changes “to ensure more Americans are covered by flood insurance, it helps build the nation’s climate resilience, reduce vulnerability to disasters, and implement the NFIP’s economic policies.”
The changes outlined in the May letter include a state law requiring the disclosure of flood records to homeowners or renters. The proposed changes would also prevent the NFIP from building new homes in high-risk areas, which would send some to insurance companies that pay more, according to the State Executive.
Another change would limit access to state insurance for “heavy loss properties” — those with a maximum insured value of less than $10,000 — after the fourth application. One can eliminate the new policies of commercial buildings.
The Biden administration is requesting these changes and others to eliminate the program’s $20.5 million debt to the US Treasury, the website said.
The requested changes also follow FEMA’s transition to Risk Rating 2.0, which changes the NFIP pricing method that has increased the cost of Louisiana homeowners and others in flood-prone areas.
Cassidy earlier this year highlighted an internal FEMA study that found that Risk Rating 2.0 would cause 20% of policyholders to drop out of the program because of premiums. About 80% will see a premium increase.
This led many senators in the southern states to introduce the Homeowners Flood Insurance Transparency and Protection Act in March to force FEMA to freeze prices until the agency addresses various complaints, from lack of public information and economic comments, more. reliability and implementation of the appeal process.
“FEMA continues to leave Louisiana and five million Americans in the dark about rising premiums and changes to the NFIP,” Cassidy said in March. “Our bill requires FEMA to provide clear information to policyholders to reduce costs and reduce the risk of flooding.”