Sen. Landrieu Introduces Flood Insurance Reform Legislation to Fix Biggert-Waters
Bill delays premium increases, makes flood insurance affordable and accessible
WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today introduced the Strengthen, Modernize and Reform The National Flood Insurance Program (SMART NFIP) Act that will correct major flaws in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The SMART NFIP Act will delay premium increases, repeal provisions preventing new owners of sold homes to continue subsidized rates, and allow the rebuilding of key community facilities destroyed in a disaster that lie in velocity zones (v-zones).
"Flood insurance must be affordable, accessible and self-sustainable. Biggert-Waters only addressed self-sustainability at the cost of homeowners in Louisiana and across the country living around water. The SMART NFIP Act is a better way to achieve all three of these goals and will allow families and businesses to continue working and living securely around water," Sen. Landrieu said. "Flood insurance is not just about business and commerce. It is about culture; it is about a way of life; it is about preserving coastal communities; and it is about being resilient in storms."
The rate increases come as part of the flood insurance reauthorization that Congress passed last summer. At the time, Sen. Landrieu repeatedly expressed her concerns about the affordability of flood insurance for Louisiana's middle class families. 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 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. Instead, it was part of the transportation bill, which also included Sen. Landrieu's RESTORE Act.
Shortly after the legislation was signed into law in July 2012, Sens. Landrieu and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., sent a letter to FEMA regarding their concerns, writing: "It is troubling that many families who continue to suffer from flooding of their homes will now be forced to pay more for flood insurance even though many of them may not be able to afford to do so. Therefore, we respectfully request that you establish a plan to help residents cope with increase costs as a result of the law."
In March, 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.
Read Sen. Landrieu's complete letter to FEMA requesting a delay in the premium increases.
Read Sen. Landrieu's complete letter to FEMA expressing her concerns after the passage of the flood insurance reauthorization.