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Vote Alert

"NO" on H.R. 3370, the misnamed "Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act."

February 25, 2014

NTU urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on H.R. 3370, the misnamed “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.” Despite its title, this bill would actually hurt many homeowners financially, endanger the evolution of private alternative markets for disaster coverage, and increase the prospects for another costly taxpayer bailout of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Even with its imperfections, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 provided a solid foundation for better protecting both taxpayers and homeowners from flood-related disasters through measures such as remapping flood zones, introducing actuarially sound coverage rates for at-risk properties, and enhancing incentives for communities to embrace mitigation before incidents occur. Yet, despite the passage of this bill by wide margins (over 400 votes in the House), Congress is preparing to break another promise to taxpayers.

The Senate has already adopted legislation to unravel much of Biggert-Waters, by delaying the most important reforms to “wait out” the reauthorization cycle for NFIP.  But whereas the Senate has taken a major step backward the House would, through H.R. 3370, sound a headlong retreat. Not only would the bill repeal rather than delay attempts to reform subsidies for risk-prone properties (many of which are simply high-priced beachfront homes), it would also roll back prudent rate adjustments on homes that have been resold since Biggert-Waters was enacted. Meanwhile, an across-the-board surcharge on homeowners would increase the costs that the majority of Americans in the program must pay to underwrite the smaller share who choose to live in riskier areas.

Instead of drafting a politicized response to media-driven hyperbole about rising insurance rates (in fact as of last year 97.9 percent of current NFIP policies paid rates of under $5,000), lawmakers should consider targeted changes to Biggert-Waters including phase-ins and modifications to rules on resales. Otherwise, NFIP, already $25 billion in debt, will be set up for a new bailout.

Accordingly, roll call votes on H.R. 3370 will be significantly weighted in NTU’s annual Rating of Congress and a “NO” vote will be considered the pro-taxpayer position.

If you have any questions, please contact NTU Federal Affairs Manager Nan Swift at (703) 683-5700