Landrieu to FEMA: Delay Premium Increases on Flood Insurance
Calls increases a 'great burden' on Louisianians
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., urged the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to delay increasing premium rates for policy holders with National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) coverage. In a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, Sen. Landrieu, along with Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., and Robert Menendez, D-N.J., wrote that "these steep increases will place a great burden on the budgets of many hardworking and low-income homeowners who are required to purchase NFIP coverage."
As part of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, FEMA is required to study the affordability of NFIP premiums and the effects of increased premiums on low-income homeowners. In her letter, Sen. Landrieu called on FEMA to release this report as soon as possible, and urged FEMA to "refrain from noticing any increases in premium rates until this report has been released and Congress and the public are given time to study it."
Last week, Sen. Landrieu chaired a Small Business Committee roundtable on access to credit and disaster recovery for small business, which included an extended discussion on the importance of affordable flood insurance for those living along the United States' coasts.
"Affordable flood insurance is a real challenge to the sustainability of small business in America. In Louisiana, we are running the Mississippi River for the entire country; we are developing oil and gas that powers our cars and homes and we are supplying one-third of this country's seafood. We must ensure that the flood insurance our small businesses get is insurance that they can afford. It's not just for their benefit, it's for the benefit of the entire country," Sen. Landrieu told the panel.
The rate increases come as part of the flood reauthorization that Congress passed last July. Sen. Landrieu expressed her concerns about the affordability of flood insurance for Louisiana's middle class families when Congress was debating reauthorizing the program. Unfortunately, no amendments were allowed during the debate, including one authored by Sen. Landrieu that would have created a pilot program to provide means-tested assistance to working and middle class individuals to help purchase flood insurance. Sen. Landrieu's amendment would have helped many Louisiana homeowners and small businesses now facing possible premium increases. Had the Biggert-Waters Act been brought for an up-or-down vote, Sen. Landrieu would have voted against it, as she stated on the Senate floor.
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