Chamber Pushes for Flood Action

Chamber Pushes for Flood Action

By Betsy Judge

The challenges facing Congress when they return to Washington in September are daunting. Try to pass a budget before the start of the fiscal year on Oct. 1. Do something about the debt ceil- ing by early fall. Get the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act through the Senate and worry about healthcare. All these issues have far reaching consequences with lots of concerned constituents.

A truck plows through standing water in Clearwater. As of last fall, almost 1.8 million Floridians had flood insurance and could be impacted by changes in the National Flood Insurance Program or by lack of action on the part of Congress in September.
Photo courtesy of Pinellas County

That hefty, post-recess agenda should worry the 5 million Americans who rely on flood insurance or live around areas that do because the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) must be reautho- rized by Sept. 30 or new policies can’t be written. That can impact the housing market and economy here, according to the Tampa Bay Beaches Chamber of Commerce.
Recall the flood scare of 2013 when the Biggert- Waters Insurance Reform Act of 2012 was going to phase out flood insurance subsidies on hundreds of thousands of older homes, many in Pinellas County. That would have resulted in astronomical increases in flood insurance rates. The public and political outcry yielded the The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 which reduced some of the reforms of the earlier bill.
Many policy holders breathed a sigh of relief, but with the fate of NFIP hanging again, Doug Izzo, who keeps an eye on government affairs for the chamber, is encouraging voters to get in touch with their legislative representatives and push them to act this month.

There is good news. Senators Rubio and Nelson are co-sponsors of a bi-partisan bill to overhaul NFIP, and Congressman Crist is calling for Congress to re-authorize the program and sup- port accessible and affordable flood insurance. And the chamber is positive about the pending legislation in both the House and Senate related to flood insurance.
The House has a package of bills that include: H.R.2875, the NFIP Administrative Reform Act. H.R.1558, the Repeatedly Flooded Communities Act. H.R.1422, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act. H.R.2565, Use of Replacement Costs in Determining Premium Values. H.R.2246, Taxpayer Exposure Mitigation Act of 2017. H.R.2868 NFIP Policyholder Protection Act, and H.R.2874 21st Century Flood Reform Act.
The Senate bills include S.1368, Sustainable, Affordable, Fair, and Efficient (SAFE) National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2017. S.1058, National Flood Insurance Program Consultant Accountability Act of 2017 and S.1313, Flood Insurance Affordability and Sustainability Act of 2017.
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