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Friday, September 20, 2013

SBC Hearing: FEMA Flood Insurance Affordability Study Could Take Two Years

At this week's Senate Banking Committee (SBC) hearing on the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act, Craig Fugate, the administrator for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), said it "will take up to two years for a study on affordability issues related to the National Flood Insurance Program to be completed."

When asked by Louisiana Sens. Mary Landrieu and David Vitter why FEMA is behind implementing the affordability study, and yet can't delay the large flood insurance rate increases, Dir. Fugate responded by putting the responsibility back onto Congress. He stated that the Biggert-Waters Act has "no provision in the law that allows FEMA to consider affordability as it implements the premium adjustments required" and that a "legislative fix adopted by both the House and Senate" is necessary to protect homeowners and communities from large rate increases.

In addition, Massachusetts Sen. Warren stated that she "supports a one-year delay of the implementation of new flood insurance rates, which would provide time for a smoother transition while the accuracy of new maps is verified." During the hearing, Sen. Warren relayed a story about one of her constituents, "One Massachusetts resident wrote to me and said, ‘I'm 70 years old, I live on a fixed income, and I'm unable to pay the proposed flood insurance.' That constituent and many others have said they don't know what to do...."

Learn more about and watch a video of the SBC hearing.

Read Sen. Warren's press release.