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“NO” on the latest amended version of H.R. 3370, the so-called “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.”
March 4, 2014
NTU once again urges all Representatives to vote “NO” on the latest amended version of H.R. 3370, the so-called “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.” Even as lawmakers attempt to re-craft this bill so it will attract sufficient votes, the same fundamentally flawed approaches from last week’s iteration of H.R. 3370 are present in this one. It would saddle many homeowners with unnecessary financial burdens, 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), which is already $24 billion in debt.
Last week we noted that 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, Congress seems intent on undermining this progress for 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. Now the House is making its second try at a headlong retreat from reform. Not only would H.R. 3370 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. The latest draft compounds these defects in several ways, by further interfering with the remapping process and not-so-subtly leaning on program administrators to keep what should be actuarially-set rates below a contrived cap of 1 percent of a property’s value. Rather than turn back the clock by passing H.R. 3370, House Members could still make targeted changes to Biggert-Waters, including phase-ins and modifications to rules on resales.
Accordingly, roll call votes on the amended version of 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