Federal policy can be a complicated endeavor. Sometimes things that read well on paper can fall apart when put into practice. These situations present perfect opportunities for our legislators to come together to work out real-world solutions. And as we continue to suffer from the most unproductive Congress in history, any bipartisan victory these days is a great thing.
Which brings us to the Biggert-Waters Act. Last year, we told you about the federal measures being taken to protect Southern Louisiana’s coastal communities from insurance rate hikes imposed by the Biggert-Waters Act. This law punished those who lived in coastal areas prone to flooding, forcing them to choose between paying devastatingly high insurance premiums or move away from their community. In some cases, people were being forced to pay as much as a ten-fold increase in their premium costs.
In recognition of the unrealistic aims of the Biggert-Waters Act, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed a bi-partisan compromise aimed at more practical solutions for people living in flood-prone areas. President Obama has since signed this compromise, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, into law. Among many other things, the law:
Limits the annual increase for the chargeable risk premium rate on flood insurance to 18%- Requires FEMA to devise a plan to make flood insurance premiums less expensive- Requires FEMA to review its maps regarding what areas of land are likely to flood and thus require those living in those areas to purchase flood insurance
Through this law, the federal government was able to fix a terrible problem by replacing it with a program that works. That’s why we have added the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act to our Programs that Matter series. This law stopped severe insurance rate increases for half a million coastal Louisiana families. If that’s not a program that matters, we don’t know what is. Coastal Louisiana homeowners began receiving refunds on October 1st for unaffordable premium increases they had incurred through the Biggert-Waters Act since 2012. Beyond the positives in terms of rate adjustments and refunds, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act makes many of the processes involved in FEMA’s mapping systems and determination of flood zones more transparent and allows more community buy-in through public meetings and the opportunity to submit supplemental information and data. This is exactly the type of progressive policy that makes a real difference in Louisiana. Posted on October 17, 2014 by Dylan WaguespacK