Congressman Hakeem Jeffries

Representing the 8th District of New York

Rep. Jeffries Co-Sponsors Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act

Oct 31, 2013
Press Release

Queens, NY – Today, Congressman Hakeem Jeffries (NY-8) and Congressman Gregory Meeks (NY-6) held a press conference announcing their co-sponsorship of H.R. 3370, “The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.”

Introduced in the Congress earlier this week, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act resolves issues with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), delays insurance rate increases and requires that FEMA complete an affordability study, so lawmakers can make an appropriate determination about the implementation of changes in the future.

“The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act will help keep residents in their homes and our communities robust by making necessary changes to the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Rep. Jeffries. “I applaud both sides of the aisle for putting ideological differences aside and creating bipartisan legislation that addresses a national conflict that affects every homeowner and implements much-needed changes to this federal program.”

Reflective of the storm damage that inundated thousands of homes, many residents were facing financial difficulty brought on by potential increases in flood insurance rates due to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 – legislation that was passed prior to the storm. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act suspends the rate increases and requires FEMA to propose regulations that address the identified affordability issues within 18 months after the completion of the study and establishes a six month moratorium thereafter to provide for Congressional review.

The delay applies to: primary, non-repetitive loss residences that are currently grandfathered; all properties sold after July 6, 2012; and all properties that purchased a new policy after July 6, 2012.  FEMA has estimated it will take 2 years to complete the affordability study before regulations can be issued and reviewed by Congress meaning rate increases would be delayed for approximately 4 years in total.

In addition, the legislation:

  • Allows FEMA to utilize National Flood Insurance Funds to reimburse policyholders who successfully appeal a map determination.

  • Eliminates the 50% cap on state and local contributions to levee construction and reconstruction

  • Protects the so-called “basement exception,” which allows the lowest proofed opening in a home to be used for determining flood insurance rates.

  • Establishes a Flood Insurance Rate Map Advocate within FEMA to answer current and prospective policyholder questions about the flood mapping process.

  • Requires FEMA to certify that the agency has fully adopted a modernized risk-based approach to analyzing flood risk. 

# # #

Full text of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act can be read HERE.