Bipartisan group of senators, House members unite behind bill delaying flood insurance hikes for 4 years
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Ten senators are sponsoring a plan announced last Friday (October 25) to delay the most egregious effects of Biggert-Waters. Most the 20 members of the House who had been working on similar legislation are now on board with the senate measure.
Among the "affordability" measures authorized by the Senate's version of the bill were targeted assistance to individual policy holders and consideration of how large premium increases might affect participation in the flood insurance program. Sponsors of the delaying legislation say the premium increases won't make the program more fiscally sound if large numbers of homeowners can't afford them and drop their coverage.
In addition, the Senate bill sets up a Flood Insurance Rate Map ombudsman to answer questions from policyholders about the mapping process. Among other things, the ombudsman would be responsible for educating policyholders about their individual flood risks and how to mitigate them, assisting property owners through the flood map appeals process, and improving outreach and coordination with local officials and community leaders.
About 20 percent of the 5 million flood insurance policyholders face increases under Biggert-Waters, and some of the increases are double, triple, even 10 times what the residents are paying now.