Cochran Helps Push Bill to Keep Flood Insurance Rates Low Over the Finish Line

(Lauren Victoria Burke, AP 2008)
(Lauren Victoria Burke, AP 2008)
Contributor: Rachael Thomas
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Updated: 3/13/2014 5:08 pm
U.S. Senator Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) today voted for final passage of legislation based on a bill he helped write to ensure that homeowners and communities in Mississippi are not saddled with unaffordable flood insurance rate increases as National Flood Insurance Program reforms are implemented.

Cochran voted on Thursday to give final congressional approval to the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HR.3370). The bill passed the Senate 72-22. It has passed the House and will now head to the President’s desk for signature.

Cochran helped write a similar Senate-passed bill as part of a bipartisan effort to resolve problems arising from implementation of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.).

“This bill is responsive to the Mississippians I’ve heard from, many of whom are longtime residents or on fixed incomes. Even though they followed all of the government’s rules, they were facing unfair costs and mandates that this legislation will now alleviate,” Cochran said.

“The legislation we’re sending to the President responsibly addresses the unintended consequences created by the Biggert-Waters Act. The necessary reforms in the Biggert-Waters law will continue, but without causing serious financial hardship for families, businesses or whole communities,” he said.

The bipartisan legislation going to the White House includes offsets for the costs of HR.3370, which would limit annual policy rate increases, force F.E.M.A. to certify its mapping methodology, and set milestones for F.E.M.A. to carry out a flood insurance rate affordability study, among other things.

Cochran, who serves on the Senate appropriations subcommittee with jurisdiction over F.E.M.A., has been one of the Senate’s leaders on flood disaster policy in recent years, helping to restore the Gulf Coast following Hurricane Katrina, build flood control infrastructure throughout Mississippi that minimized damage from the Mississippi River flood of 2011, and reforming the way F.E.M.A. considers flood control infrastructure when setting insurance premiums.

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