Houma Courier: Landrieu seeks U.S. Chamber's help in flood insurance fight
U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., is asking the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to join a fight to delay rule changes that could cause flood-insurance prices for many coastal Louisiana residents to skyrocket.
Landrieu said Thursday she has met with chamber representatives and sent a letter to the group Wednesday seeking its support to change provisions in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.
The act aims to make the National Flood Insurance Program, which is an estimated $26 million in debt, financially stable. It includes measures that would end federal subsidies and bring the cost of most policies in line with the actual risk a home or business will flood.
The U.S. Chamber, which supported the law as it was being passed last year, lobbies on behalf of about 3 million businesses.
In her letter, Landrieu specifically targets a provision referred to as the "home sale trigger." The new rule says any property purchased after July 6, 2012, will immediately lose its entire flood-insurance subsidy upon sale.
The provision penalizes new homeowners who had no way of knowing their flood-insurance costs would double or triple the following year and makes selling a home difficult, if not impossible, Landrieu said.
"Less than one week from today, on Oct. 1, 1.1 million homes and businesses could see an immediate decrease in their property values because of the sales trigger provision that eliminates subsidies at the act of sale," Landrieu wrote.
The St. Charles Parish assessor has developed a formula for revaluing properties based on the projected elevation costs that has resulted in overall value reductions ranging from 18-20 percent on each impacted property, Landrieu wrote.
"I share your commitment to promoting the solvent and sustainable operations of the National Flood Insurance Program," her letter says, "and I request your support for re-establishing essential protections in the program to prevent severe damage to the U.S. housing market and ensure that policyholders on our coasts and along our inland waterways have access to affordable flood insurance."