ONLINE UPDATE: Senate passes delay to Biggert-Waters

by Sam Wilson
Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Senate passed a bill Thursday that will delay some provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 if signed into law.

The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act would delay implementation of rate hikes for some affected flood insurance policy holders for up to four years.

Hannah Smith, a spokesperson for Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) said the bill will delay premium hikes for about four years. It requires FEMA to complete an affordability study and submit a framework for rate implementation to Congress, which will then consider the changes.

The delay applies primarily to primary residences, with the exception of some that have incurred repetitive losses. Businesses and second homes experiencing rate hikes will not be included in the delay.

A companion bill currently in the House could face a more difficult road to passage. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a Jan. 16 statement he would not support a repeal of Biggert-Waters. However, Boehner left open the possibility that he would put his support behind less wholesale changes to the law.

Signed into federal law July 6, 2012, Biggert-Waters was an effort to balance the National Flood Insurance Programís budget, estimated at $25 billion in debt, by phasing out subsidies for some flood insurance policies, creating stiff rate hikes for some policy holders.

Following backlash from policy holders in flood-prone parts of the country hit with drastic spikes in their flood insurance premiums, federal legislators have been working for more than a year to repeal or delay Biggert-Waters.

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