The National Association of Realtors penned a letter Monday urging Congress to pass its Flood Reform Act, approving the key changes recently made to the bill.
NAR’s letter urged members of Congress to pass H.R. 2874, The 21st Century Flood Reform Act and its key changes made since the Financial Services Committee mark up. The bill would reform and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program.
According to the FEMA’s website, “The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations.”
Originally established in 1968, President Donald Trump on Friday passed a three-month extension for the program, which was set to expire on Sept. 30, 2017, in hopes that Congress would comes up with a long-term financial solution for the program. The program is now set to expire on Dec. 8, 2017.
In September, the Congressional Budget Office, a nonpartisan analysis for the U.S. Congress, calculated the costs of one of the main bills in the running to update the program and found that the bill would reduce direct spending by $187 million.
NAR’s letter gave several key points the new bill would accomplish, if passed:
- Reauthorize the NFIP for 5 years
- Authorize $1 billion to elevate, buyout or mitigate high risk properties
- Cap flood insurance premiums at $10,000 per year for homeowners
- Double increased cost of compliance coverage and allow access prior to floods
- Remove hurdles to the private flood insurance market which often offers better coverage at lower cost than the NFIP
- Provide for community flood maps and streamline the process of appeal
- Better align NFIP rates to risk particularly for inland and lower value properties
- Improve the claims process in light of Superstorm Sandy
- Address the repeatedly flooding properties that account for 2% of NFIP policies but 25% of the claim payments
- Strengthen the overall solvency of the program in the future
From the letter:
HR 2874 also includes several critical changes since the Financial Services Committee mark up. The bill would strike the provision reported by the Committee to end grandfathering, effectively leaving in place the current practice. It would reduce the annual premium increase for older (pre-flood map) properties from 8 percent to 6.5 percent. It would also expand eligibility for the $10,000 cap to include households that have certified elevation data from sources that includes, but is not strictly limited to a NFIP elevation certificate.
NAR supports H.R. 2874: The 21st Century Flood Reform Act as amended, and urges its immediate passage to ensure an on-time, long-term reauthorization of the NFIP before December 8th of this year.