Senate passes bill to delay flood insurance hikes, urges Congress to follow suit

Following the threat of significantly raised flood insurance rates, the Senate passed a bill on Thursday that would ensure residents in flood zones get a chance at a reasonable premium.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, which received the bipartisan majority vote in the Senate, would require FEMA to enact an affordability study to ensure flood insurance is accurate and affordable.

“It makes no sense to raise flood insurance rates before we consider how homeowners will be able to afford to pay them,” said Senator Charles Schumer, who co-sponsored the bill.

Now, Schumer is urging Congress and ultimately President Barack Obama to follow suit and make the bill law.

The act would additionally require real solutions be proposed to address insurance affordability issues before rates can be raised.

Schumer called it an “an important step in the fight to prevent tens of thousands of New Yorkers from facing crippling flood insurance premium increases and loss of property value.”

These regulations will help protect homeowners from increased premiums set to be imposed by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act, Schumer said, which would require the National Flood Insurance Program to raise flood rates to reflect “true flood risk” for a policyholder, according to FEMA.

In November, Congressmembers Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries co-sponsored the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Care Act of 2013, legislation also meant to address the flood insurance rate increase and “keep residents from being priced out of our community,” Meeks said.

The act imposes a four-year delay for certain primary residences. It also mandates FEMA complete an affordability study, which will take two years.




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