Thursday, March 13, 2014
ST. JOHN THE BAPTIST PARISH - The United States Senate passed H.R. 3370, The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act by a vote of 72-22 this afternoon. The bill will now go to the President of the United States for his signature. "After many months of hard work, our voices were finally heard! We are elated with the NFIP victory and the opportunity to revise and craft a long-term solution for flood insurance for our residents and the community," said Parish President Natalie Robottom.
The legislation achieves the most pressing goals of the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance by both settling real estate markets and protecting property owners who have played by the rules, while preserving the transition to true risk premium rates over a more gradual timeframe. The legislation ensures that flood insurance will remain affordable for those who have built to code at the time of construction. It also removes the property sales trigger, which will bring back the certainty of accurate rates to the real estate market and treat both current property owners and potential purchasers equally. The legislation includes several other positive provisions, including increasing the home improvement threshold, reimbursing policyholders for successful map changes, creating a flood insurance advocate for homeowners, preserving the basement exception, addressing problems relating to escrow accounts for policy holders, and refunding policyholders who purchased pre-FIRM homes before FEMA could warn them of a premium increase into the tens of thousands of dollars. The legislation is paid for by small fees on policies which expire once home owners achieve full-risk rates.