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US House to Vote on Homeowner Flood Ins. Affordability Act (Feb 24).

It is time to call Susan Brooks and make it plain to her that she needs to vote in favor of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.  

We need to make it clear to her that we need help.  That our homes are essentially not affordable and not saleable with the current Biggert-Waters Act.  We need to make her understand that blight will be inevitable unless she acts to help us and every other American stuck in a flood plain.  

-Chris

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Messaged.  I went to her website and replied under the "environment" drop-down.

I have been e-mailing under Homeland Security because that the department that contains FEMA.

The IBJ ran an aricle about flood insurance yesterday (online site). It was all about Columbus Indiana (which has flooded) - without a mention of Indianapolis. I put a comment on it. 

 

Will call Brooks' office today.

Per today's BR Gazette, Ms. Brooks now has an office at the Broad Ripple Firehouse.  See the Gazette for details.

Just emailed her.  I am confident she will turn tea-baggy on us and not vote for it, but the more she hears from us the more likely she will be to do so.  She's supported mostly by Carmel, so if you know anyone up north of us who is at risk please ask them to contact her too.

This seems positive in that it's not just a delay but overall changes....we'll have to see what shakes out as the week progresses.

GOP introduces bill to reduce costs to homeowners and businesses of Biggert-Waters flood insurance reforms

Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune By Mark Schleifstein, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune The Times-Picayune
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on February 22, 2014 at 12:04 AM, updated February 22, 2014 at 7:06 AM

House GOP leaders introduced legislation late Friday to make sweeping changes in the 2012 Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform act that will reinstate subsidized rates for homes in more flood-prone areas and allow new owners to keep the subsidized rates following a home's sale.

"This legislation is important for Louisiana, and I am proud to have worked with Michael Grimm of New York and members of the Louisiana and other Congressional delegations to produce this bold legislation that provides immediate relief," said Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, who helped write the bill.

The legislation authored by U.S. Rep. Michael Grimm, R-NY, and co-sponsored by members of the Louisiana delegation, also lists  Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., one of the authors of the Biggert-Waters Act, and other Democrats as co-sponsors, including Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-New Orleans, but that's only because the Republican language was pasted into an existing bill on which they were already listed as co-sponsors that was an attempted compromise.

Democrats, including Waters, continue to negotiate with Republican leaders over the language contained in the bill, but the Republicans filed their version late Friday as a procedural move to clear the way for a vote on the measure next week. 

"I am encouraged by the progress we've made to advance legislation that will provide relief to those facing skyrocketing flood insurance premiums," Waters said in a statement early Saturday. "Over the next several days, I will continue active negotiations with Republican leadership, the bill's authors and members of the U.S. Senate. I look forward to working with them to ensure this legislation is written in a manner that provides the relief so badly needed by our nation's homeowners. If it falls short, I will continue to press for consideration of the bipartisan legislation now supported by an overwhelming majority of 235 House members."

Also listed as a co-author of the legislation are U.S. Reps. Steve Scalise, R-Metairie; Charles Boustany, R-Lake Charles;

If approved by the House and accepted by the Senate, which has already passed legislation that would simply delay the implementation of the Biggert-Waters rate increases for subsidized policies for four years, FEMA would still be allowed to use existing rules to slowly raise rates for those policies to more actuarially sound levels over a much longer period of time, according to Cassidy staffers.

The Biggert-Waters rate increases were aimed at reducing the potential cost of hundreds of thousands of policies that had been granted subsidies, and would have reduced what's been estimated as a $25 billion deficit in the National Flood Insurance Program's budget caused by damages during Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2011.

Cassidy and other Louisiana members of Congress contend the Biggert-Waters changes penalize state residents who must live in flood-prone areas because of their employment, including oil and gas production workers and fishers, and that the law penalized residents whose homes were built and purchased long ago under the old rules and otherwise meet state and local building codes.

Supporters of Biggert-Waters point out that those homes often are the source of multiple flood insurance claims that have dramatically increased the cost of the insurance program, as the number and cost of major disasters along the nation's coastline have increased.

But Cassidy and other Gulf Coast and East Coast congressmen have complained that the dramatic rate increases -- some as much as five times the existing rates -- have also made it both impossible for many homeowners to afford the insurance or to sell their homes, since the high rates have scared away buyers. And that could result in reduced numbers of policies being sold, which also would hurt the ability of the insurance program to pay for itself.

The new legislation, HR 3370, would also provide a refund for people who had purchased homes with subsidized rates since 2012 without realizing the rates would undergo significant increases.

The bill also would raise the trigger for losing the insurance subsidy for damaged homes from 30 percent of their fair market value to 50 percent, which was the threshhold that triggered unsubsidized rates before the passage of the Biggert-Waters Act.

Under Congressional rules, the bill's costs are required to be offset by other revenue. That would be done by assessments of about $25 a year for all National Flood Insurance Program policies for primary residences, and about $250 a year for businesses and non-primary residences, such as second homes or vacation homes. That means the subsidies will continue to be paid for by those paying the actuarially correct rates for their insurance, as well as the subsidized policy holders.

Cassidy staffers said those fees would be used placed into a trust fund to be used to cover increased claims during disasters, and would produce about $1 billion over 5 years and $2.3 billion over 10 years.

Also in the legislation is a provision requiring FEMA to complete a study of the ability of insurance policy holders to afford actuarially sound rates, such as are required by the Biggert-Waters Act, by September 30, 2017, which is the date that the National Flood Insurance Program expires and would need to be reauthorized. The bill also includes about $2 million to complete the study.

Here's a link to the bill in the House for your reading pleasure.

http://docs.house.gov/billsthisweek/20140224/BILLS-113hr3370-SUS.pdf

Hi everyone - Elizabeth Marshall and Emily Julian here with the State Farm office on College Ave (contact us at www.insurance4indy.com). We both live in Warfleigh and have been working closely with all of the flood insurance changes, legislation, etc. Below is an update regarding the current state of affairs for flood insurance - we are hoping for NFIP reform, but wanted to also share the private insurer that has emerged (some of you are already aware of them). Hopefully between the reform and the private insurance option the flood insurance will not detrimentally impact our property values and ability to sell our homes.


As an update regarding legislation, we have received indication from Representative Brooks’ office that she is in favor of flood reform – they have reached out to neighborhood leaders and heard our concerns. However, it certainly doesn’t hurt to send more feedback (https://susanwbrooks.house.gov/contact/email-me) or if you are in Representative Carson’s district you can contact him here: https://forms.house.gov/carson/webforms/issue_subscribe.htm   Regarding the bill that the House is about to review, it is my understanding it has already passed the senate with Donnelly voting for it and Coats voting against it. That is important to remember in case it makes its way back to the Senate we may need to communicate to Senator Coats’ office regarding our concerns to see if we can get him on board. Please note that we do not consider ourselves political experts, so if any of the above info is not spot on then please forgive us  However, we are experts on the flood insurance and wanted to share the following update about that:


Legislative Update – some flood reform passed in early 2014, but it primarily related to the delay of the rate hikes for areas receiving new flood maps. Most of our impacted clients are receiving rate changes due to change in ownership. We still are not yet clear on the provisions of the House bill, but will try to share info as it comes along.

 

National Flood Insurance Policies – we are working with some clients to place a “tentative rate” policy with NFIP. This is typically a lower rate than their full risk rate – especially if the home has a basement. This is a good strategy for clients who are facing increases due to a purchase before the new rates were available – now they are looking at a much higher rate at renewal. They will still be subject to “full rates” after a year on tentative rates, but it does buy them some time. If you have questions regarding your renewal letter be sure to reach out to us (or your licensed insurance professional) for answers before they go through the expense of an elevation certificate as there may be other options. The tentative rates can also be used for new home buyers, but it is important that they understand it is not their “forever” rate, just a lower rate that they can use for a year. We have also found that some people do actually benefit from getting the elevation certificate and quoting the actual rate with NFIP – this would be for clients on the fringes of the flood zone and/or those who are on a slab or raised foundation.

 

Private Market Flood Insurance – there is a new private insurer that is offering flood policies generally at a reduced rate for what we are seeing in Warfleigh. At this point, we are not clear regarding lender approval of this provider and/or their claims paying ability. If they are determined to be viable from a lender perspective, this may be the best long term option to ensure our real estate market stays stable. Our office cannot write these policies due to our agency agreement, but we do have a referral partner that can place the policy. Elevation certificates are not required and rates are fixed based upon rebuild cost of the home. For general comparison purposes, a $150,000 home has an annual premium of about $1,500 and a $250,000 home has an annual premium of about $2,500. The website to learn more is www.privatemarketflood.com. Unfortunately, if someone has an NFIP policy they cannot move to the private market policy mid-term, but we will be working with all of our clients at their next renewal to evaluate this as an option.

 

Feel free to continue to use our office as a resource to answer all of your flood insurance questions, we are happy to help in any way we can!

Regards,

Elizabeth Marshall

Looks like we might be delayed until next week:

 

WASHINGTON – House Republicans delayed a vote on repealing flood-insurance rate increases until next week, the latest twist in a long-running effort to respond to a public backlash against a 2012 law.

The repeal, which would lock in current rates on some homes and transfer subsidies to buyers, has brought together Democrats and Republicans from flood zones, but has attracted sharp attacks from fiscal conservatives. It has gained momentum in an election year, with both the Senate and the House rushing to undo a law that was intended to stabilize the money-losing flood insurance program but has become swamped in bad publicity  for sky-high premiums facing some property owners.

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas), a prominent conservative, trashed the bill at a closed-door Republican caucus meeting on Wednesday, lawmakers said – a move that prompted some Republicans to question whether the party would be able to deliver enough votes for the bill to clear on a fast-track basis. A spokesman for Mr. Hensarling didn’t immediately reply to a request for comment.

Other Republicans said simply that Democrats needed more time to brief members of their caucus, as a last-minute issue with the bill had only just been ironed out.

H.R. 3370 passed the House yesterday by a vote of 305-91. I listed a link to the Thomas.gov website which has the text of the law. Senate will consider the House version later this week according to USA Today. Reps. Brooks and Carson did vote for the law.

 

http://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/3370

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