Fighting to Keep Flood Insurance Affordable

Update: Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance Urges Senate to Pass Flood Insurance Measure

Update:FAQs about S. 1610 and H.R. 3370 – The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act

Update: Talking Points – Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act

Update: Michael Hecht’s Testimony before Congress on Flood Insurance

Update:  Letter to President Obama on NFIP

Update: NFIP – Challenges and Solutions (PDF)

Update: Business and Trade Association Coalition Letter on NFIP rates

Update: NFIP Report: Key Questions of Financial Structure and Management

Update: GNO, Inc. Hosts Roundtable Discussion with David Miller,
Associate Administrator for Flood Insurance and Mitigation of FEMA,
Louisiana Congressional Delegation, and Parish Leaders

To receive email updates or for further information, please contact Caitlin Berni at cberni@gnoinc.org.

National Flood Insurance Program – Challenges and Solutions

The community of southern Louisiana supports a sustainable, fiscally responsible National Flood Insurance Program that protects the businesses and homeowners who built according to code and have followed all applicable laws. However, changes made to the NFIP in the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 threaten to harm the very citizens the program was designed to protect.

Current Challenges

Two major issues affecting the price of flood insurance are causing grave concern to particular areas in South Louisiana and in coastal and riverine areas across the country:

1) Phase-Out of Grandfathering and Subsidized Rates – The Biggert-Waters Act of 2012, which reauthorized and made substantive changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), phases out grandfathering. That is, properties that were built in accordance with all FEMA required elevations and applicable codes at that time may now be considered out of compliance, through no fault of their own, due to new flood mapping. For example, a homeowner who built at the proper FEMA required elevation has found out their flood insurance will increase from $600 to $28,000 per year – effectively making their home uninsurable, and worthless on the market.

2) “All or Nothing” Protection – New FEMA maps, which outline base flood elevation changes, do not currently recognize protection offered by unaccredited (less than 100 year protection) levees, or other elements (e.g., pumps) at all. For example, if a levee only offers 50-year protection, the property protected by this levee is considered as having no protection.

GNO, Inc. overview presentation on NFIP issues
Correcting Misinterpretations about Grandfathered Rates

Potential Impacts

  • Home values go to zero; homeowners lose everything
  • Property assessments go to zero; parishes lose tax revenue
  • Bank mortgages go into default; banks are left with worthless assets
  • The NFIP program, itself, goes into a “death spiral” as people leave the program
  • The communities and economies of southeast Louisiana – and all of coastal and riverine America – will be made unviable

Possible Solutions

Congress can amend the Biggert-Waters Act:

  • To reinstate grandfathering of properties (not policies) that were built to code, have maintained insurance, have not repeatedly flooded, etc.
  • To reflect an economically reasonable and slower increase in rates to actuarial rates

FEMA can work with local stakeholders to continue to develop and refine maps to accurately reflect flood risk in each affected community by taking into account nonaccredited levees and other features that afford flood protection

NFIP in the Media

This initiative has garnered significant attention locally and nationally. In response to this, several media outlets have reported on the issue. NFIP Media Mentions can be found here.

Updates from GNO, Inc.

GNO, Inc. Announces NFIP and FEMA Action Plan
GNO, Inc. to Host Fly-in of Delegation of Parish Leaders to Washington, D.C.
GNO, Inc. Praises Louisiana Congressional Delegation For Work On Flood Insurance