The industry has overwhelmingly commended the U.S. House of Representatives for passing flood insurance legislation that will benefit home buyers and home owners and provide a boost to home building and remodeling, while providing certainty and financial stability to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
"By providing predictable premium increases, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HR 3370) will prevent home values from dropping and make the NFIP stronger and more effective for years to come," said National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Chairman Kevin Kelly, a homebuilder and developer from Wilmington, Del.
HR 3370, sponsored by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY), will help address some of the costly and unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, including huge premium spikes and impacts on the sale, construction and remodeling of homes across the nation.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act will:
►Provide a more affordable rate structure for policyholders.
►Repeal the rate increases from the sale or transfer homes to full actuarial rates.
►Create more accurate flood maps.
►Provide reimbursement for successful consumer map appeals.
►Return the "substantial improvement threshold" that triggers a higher flood insurance rate to the historic 50 percent level of a structure's fair market value, which would preserve significant remodeling activity.
►Reinstate an exemption in 53 communities nationwide for basements that are built in a flood-proof manner.
“ICBA strongly supports today’s House vote to protect homeowners and communities nationwide from much higher National Flood Insurance Program premiums,” said Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Camden R. Fine. “Unless current law changes, sharp flood insurance rate hikes under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 would make flood insurance unaffordable for many policyholders who built to code and followed the law every step of the way. The House bill approved today would stop these devastating rate increases and avoid further instability in our nation’s still-recovering housing market.”
Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA), Michael Grimm (R-NY), Maxine Waters (D-CA), Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) were firm supporters of the bill as it passed through the House.
“Homeowners nationwide, on the coasts and also inland, who are experiencing financial hardship because of extreme and sudden premium increases will feel immediate relief from this bill, which ensures a slow and steady phase in of risk-based increases," said National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Steve Brown. “Most importantly, the bill removes FEMA’s authority to increase premium rates to unjustified levels at the time of a property’s sale, which will stabilize local real estate markets and ensure that both property owners and prospective buyers are treated equally.