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UPDATE: U.S. House Flood Insurance Vote Delayed

February 26, 2014

This morning (Wed., Feb. 26), leadership in the U.S. House informed the National League of Cities that it would delay consideration of The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act until next week as technical changes are made to the bill. NLC will monitor these changes, but in the meantime, please continue to contact your House members and ask them to vote "Yes" on this legislation (see below). The League will continue to keep you updated as to the progress of this important legislation.


February 25, 2014

Please contact your U.S. Representative today and ask that they vote "Yes" on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3370 As Amended). As you can read in the message below (or read here) from the National League of Cities, the U.S. House of Representatives will begin debate on the bill this week. Through a variety of measures (see below), H.R. 3370 would help stop or slow dramatic increases in flood insurance rates that many property owners have been experiencing since the passage of the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012.

Municipal officials in North Carolina and across the country have expressed concern regarding the increase in rates being experienced by their citizens, and a N.C. General Assembly committee heard an update on the issue last fall. In response to member concerns, the League has joined NLC in supporting the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. A version of this legislation passed the Senate last year, but the bill being considered by the U.S. House contains different language.

Please contact your Representative today and ask that they vote "Yes" on this bill. See immediately below for a summary of this legislation, and at the bottom of this message for the original communication from NLC.

Summary of H.R. 3370, The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act

The legislation does the following:

  • Reinstates the grandfathering of properties by repealing Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Act.  This means that all post Flood Insurance Rate Map (post-FIRM) properties built to code at the time of construction will have protection from rate spikes due to new mapping.  By reinstating the grandfathering of properties, there is no longer a need to delay the rate increases.
  • Prevents FEMA from increasing premiums within a single property class beyond 15% per year. 
  • Requires a 5 percent minimum annual increase on pre-FIRM primary residence policies that are not at full risk. 
  • Refunds policyholders who purchased pre-FIRM homes after Biggert-Waters (7/6/12) and were subsequently charged higher rates.
  • Removes the rate increase trigger for properties sold after 7/6/2012 and treats the new property owner as the same as the previous property owner.
  • Applies an annual surcharge of $25 for primary residences and $250 for second homes and businesses to all policies. All revenue from these assessments would be placed in the NFIP reserve fund, which was established to ensure funds are available for meeting the expected future obligations of the NFIP.
  • Funds the affordability study required by Biggert-Waters Act and mandates its completion in two years.
  • Requires FEMA to reimburse policy holders and communities for successful map appeals.

Tell the House: Vote YES on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014
(H.R. 3370 As Amended)

Please call your Representative
today and urge them to support affordable flood insurance rates for residents in your community.

The U.S. House of Representatives will begin debate this week on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3370 as amended). This bill contains measures to stop, slow or reverse skyrocketing flood insurance premium rate increases for some properties called for by the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 (BW-12). BW-12 aimed at assuring the solvency of the deeply indebted National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and requires FEMA to adjust flood insurance premiums to reflect true flood risk and phase out subsidies for properties built before the community adopted its first Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM).

H.R. 3370 was originally introduced as a companion bill to the Senate measure (S. 1926)—also known as the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. However, the original legislative text has been replaced with completely new language. The amended bill will be considered under a procedure that will require a 2/3 majority vote to pass and does not allow for any amendments.

Today, businesses and homeowners in 22,000 communities in all states and territories have made plans and investments based on the existence of affordable flood insurance. Implementation of BW-12 resulted in drastically increasing annual NFIP flood insurance premiums for some homeowners and businesses due to the phase-outs of subsidized premium rates. The rate increases impact local real estate markets, banks and mortgage companies, residents on fixed - incomes, and policyholders, who built their communities with the best available information.

Click here for talking points and your Representative’s Washington office phone number.

NLC’s Policy

NLC urges Congress to pass legislation that will delay the implementation of rate increases until FEMA completes the affordability study and to undertake any other such amendments to BW-12 that will keep flood insurance rates affordable for primary, non-primary and business properties while balancing the fiscal solvency of the program. (See full resolution).

Read NLC's letter to House leadership on this bill.

For more information, contact Yucel Ors, Program Director, Public Safety, at or 202.626.3124

Posted on February 26, 2014 by Government Affairs Team