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March 14, 2014

RE: Flood Insurance Affordability Bill Readied for President’s Signature

Dear Mayor:

Yesterday in Washington, The United States Senate passed H.R. 3370, The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. The bill had already won approval in the House of Representatives. (See our March 5 letter at http://www.njslom.org/letters/2014-0305-Flood-Insurance.html) Once the President Obama signs the bill, it will become the law of the land. 

As was indicated in our February 26 letter (http://www.njslom.org/letters/2014-0226-Flood-Insurance.html), the legislation will:

  • Reinstate 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.)   
  • Prevent FEMA from increasing premiums within a single property class beyond 15% per year. 
  • Require a 5 percent minimum annual increase on pre-FIRM primary residence policies that are not at full risk. 
  • Refund policyholders who purchased pre-FIRM homes after Biggert-Waters (7/6/12) and were subsequently charged higher rates.
  • Remove 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.
  • Apply 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.)
  • Fund the affordability study required by Biggert-Waters Act and mandates its completion in two years.
  • Require FEMA to reimburse policy holders and communities for successful map appeals.

The vote in the Senate was 72-22, with 6 not voting. We thank Senators Menendez and Booker for their work on this, on our behalf. We also thank all of you who took the time to contact our Senators and your Congressman in support of Flood Insurance Affordability. We will let you know when the President acts on this reform.

If you have any questions, contact Jon Moran at 609-695-3481, ext. 121 or jmoran@njslom.com

Very truly yours,

William G. Dressel, Jr.
Executive Director

 

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