Last week, House and Senate Congressional members introduced bills that
would delay National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rate increases for four
years. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 (S. 1610/
H.R. 3370) was introduced in both chambers in response to the Biggert-Waters
Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12), which was signed into law on July
6, 2012. BW-12 aimed make the NFIP program more financially stable, by
reflecting true flood risks in communities.
Implementation of BW-12 included some unexpected
complications, however, including rapidly increasing flood insurance
rates. For example, homes and businesses built to code and with no history
of flooding in FEMA’s special hazard zones are having their annual
insurance premiums go up from several hundred dollars to more than $20,000.
Many counties are concerned over the impacts that these rate increases will
have on their citizens and businesses in flood zones and ultimately the county.
As rates increase, residents cannot sell properties nor afford the new rates.
This impacts county governments as property values drop and tax bases
disappear. S. 1610/H.R. 3370 would delay implementation of the new rates
and authorize an affordability study to look at these challenges.
NACo supports efforts to adopt and implement risk reduction
of mitigation measures related to actual natural disaster risks, as well as a
sustainable, fiscally responsible National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) that
protects the businesses and homeowners who built according to code and have
followed all applicable laws. NACo urges Congress to amend the Biggert-Waters
Act to keep flood insurance rates affordable while balancing the fiscal
solvency of the program. NACo also urges Congress to reinstate grandfathering
of properties (not policies) that were built to code, have maintained insurance
or have not repeatedly flooded, and to implement rate structures that reflect economically
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