Protecting Homeowners from Flood Insurance Rate Hikes

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money water 2The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) recently called on the Senate to pass 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-N.J.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), would delay rate increases for up to four years by giving the Federal Emergency Management Agency time to develop a plan to help property owners who cannot afford higher premiums.

“ICBA strongly urges senators to approve the bipartisan S. 1926 to protect homeowners and communities nationwide from higher National Flood Insurance Program premiums,” ICBA President and CEO Camden R. Fine said. “Allowing more time for FEMA to investigate the potential impact of premium hikes on millions of Americans is essential to mitigating the negative unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.”

Unless Congress acts, flood insurance rate increases 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.

REALTORS® are optimistic about the bill. “This critical legislation will help the millions of homeowners who are now facing dramatic flood insurance rate increases, which are the unintended consequence of reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program,” said National Association of REALTORS® President Steve Brown in a recent statement.

“The bill will temporarily halt the exponential and inaccurate rate increases facing homeowners in both coastal and inland states,” Brown continued. “It will also establish a flood insurance advocate within the Federal Emergency Management Agency to investigate rate increases and assist property owners with multiple or miscalculated rate quotes.”

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