The goal is to delay the rate hikes for the coverage to help businesses and residents prepare.
This week, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) has filed legislation with the purpose of delaying increases in flood insurance premiums in order to help to provide homeowners and businesses to deal with the current repairs from previous damage and then prepare for the higher costs that they will be facing to continue their coverage.
Officials feel that the cost of these policies could skyrocket in many areas before the end of the year.
Last year, the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program was approved as an element of an omnibus bill. Last week, Landrieu had attempted to add an amendment to the bill that would have delayed increases to the program’s premiums, but it was defeated. The goal of that amendment was to stall hikes of 20 percent or higher per year for some of the residents who are in the program.
Coastal residents, such as those in the South of Louisiana, could soon be paying far more for flood insurance.
The bill that has now been filed is the Strengthen, Modernize and Reform the National Flood Insurance Program Act (SMART NFIP). If it passes, it would stall the hikes indefinitely, until six months after an affordability study is received by Congress after it has been produced by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA is the implementer of NFIP.
The bill is also designed to provide extra protection to the properties whose flood insurance premiums have already been “grandfathered”. Landrieu has explained that she is not yet certain how she will attempt to push the bill forward. She explained that “It could be standalone. It could be amended onto another bill.” She also added that “It could be part of the appropriations process, of which I’d have a good bit of influence on since I chair the committee.”
The committee to which Landrieu referred is the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security, of which she is chairperson. That committee is responsible for overseeing the funding for FEMA.
This issue is close to Landrieu’s heart as many of the people in her own state will face new flood insurance maps which could end up making the coverage much more costly in the attempt to make the program more self-sustainable.