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March 24, 2014

RE: President Signs Flood Insurance Rate Relief Bill

Dear Mayor:

On Friday, March 21, President Obama signed into law H.R. 3370, The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. As was indicated in our February 26 letter (, 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.

Click here for an overview by FEMA of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act

Importantly, for your constituents, the new law will require FEMA to designate a Flood Insurance Advocate to advocate for the fair treatment of policy holders under the National Flood Insurance Program and property owners in the mapping of flood hazards, the identification of risks from flood, and the implementation of measures to minimize the risk of flood.

We thank Senators Menendez and Booker and our New Jersey Congressmen 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.

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

Very truly yours,

Suzanne M. Walters, President                        William G. Dressel, Jr.
NJLM and Mayor,                                               Executive Director
Stone Harbor Borough





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