Scalise: House passes major flood insurance reform bill
Washington, DC – Congressman Steve Scalise today issued the following statement after the House passed a bill to reform the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012. The proposal passed with overwhelming bipartisan support by 306 to 91, and provides Louisianans with serious, long-term solutions to the unworkable BW-12 flood insurance rate increases.
“The House's vote is a watershed moment in the battle to provide real relief to millions of homeowners in Louisiana and across the nation who are facing skyrocketing flood insurance rates because of Biggert-Waters,” Scalise said. “By reforming the flood insurance program, the House took a major step to cap premium increases, provide certainty to homeowners, ensure stability to local economies, and place the flood insurance program on the path to sustainability. Over the last five years, the flood insurance program has lapsed or nearly expired 18 separate times. Tonight, a broad bipartisan majority in Congress stood up and voted with one voice to address this problem with common-sense reforms that provide long-term solutions. This victory could not have been achieved without the input and advice from both sides of the aisle, and I’d like to particularly thank Majority Leader Cantor and my colleagues from Louisiana for standing together and refusing to rest until we solved this problem.”
“House-passage of this legislation is critical for thousands of St. Tammany Parish residents facing unbearable flood insurance premium increases because of Biggert-Waters,” St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister said. “I thank Congressman Scalise and the entire Louisiana Congressional Delegation for their unwavering commitment to fixing this broken law and providing certainty to all Louisianans.”
“On behalf of every Plaquemines Parish resident, I thank Steve and the rest of the delegation for continuing to fight against the unworkable Biggert-Waters Act and finally passing legislation to fix this problem,” said Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungessor.
‘This bill provides critical relief for the citizens of Lafourche Parish, and I applaud Representative Scalise and the entire delegation for working together to implement real reforms to the flood insurance program,” said Lafourche Parish President Charlotte Randolph.
Specifically, the proposal:
- Halts the elimination of grandfathered rates by repealing Section 207 of BW-12 and decoupling automatic increases in premium rates from the implementation of scientifically flawed flood maps.
- Is retroactive for people already paying BW-12 premiums.
- Caps the amount that premiums can be increased at no more than 18 percent.
- Removes the trigger that applies instant actuarial rates to people who buy a new home.
- Requires FEMA to offer policyholders the option to pay premiums in monthly installments.
- Ensures that FEMA offer primary home owners the option of a higher deductable up to $10,000
- Mandates that the FEMA Administrator accept existing flood protection structures in communities whether completed or not.
- Requires FEMA to take into account non-structural flood mitigation features when designing their flood maps.