The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) said it is pleased that the U.S. Senate has passed bipartisan legislation to protect homeowners from significant increases in flood insurance premiums, which began being phased in on Oct. 1.
S. 1926, introduced by Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA), would delay steep rate increases for up to four years by giving the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) time to develop a plan to help property owners who cannot afford higher premiums. ICBA thanks all the senators whose tireless efforts brought this bill to the floor with a solid bipartisan vote.
“ICBA is very pleased the Senate has acted to protect homeowners and communities nationwide from much higher National Flood Insurance Program premiums,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “Giving FEMA more time to investigate the potential impact of these dramatic premium increases on millions of Americans will help alleviate the negative unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. ICBA and community bankers everywhere urge the House to take up this legislation to delay the devastating rate increases.”
Unless the law changes, sharp flood insurance rate hikes under the Biggert-Waters Act would make flood insurance unaffordable for many policyholders who built to code and followed the law every step of the way. These increases would negatively affect home values and destabilize the still-recovering housing market in affected areas.