Palazzo Statement on Progress of House Flood Insurance Bill

Contributor: Rachael Thomas
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Updated: 2/26 4:26 pm
Congressman Steven Palazzo, (MS-4), released the following statement on the progress of H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014:

“Our work continues. The House plan is one of the best we’ve seen to date, and it has broad support among local Mississippi leaders, industry experts, and national stakeholders. While I had hoped we would have a vote this week, I will continue pushing for this very balanced approach that provides more compassionate rates and certainty and holds F.E.M.A. accountable. I’ve shared my concerns regarding flood insurance increases with the public, colleagues on both sides of the aisle, F.E.M.A. Administrator David Miller, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and even the president. I will keep pushing until we are able to provide real relief and lasting reforms for those facing flood insurance increases. We are working toward a vote on the House plan as soon as possible.”

Today, Palazzo also had the opportunity to directly confront Homeland Security Secretary Johnson, who ultimately oversees the agency, about flawed F.E.M.A. practices in a hearing before the House Homeland Security Committee.

“I want to highlight an issue that is intimately related to F.E.M.A.,” Palazzo stated. “I’m talking about flood insurance: the rising costs and the multiple shortcomings of F.E.M.A. to get their flood mapping or premium rates setting right. There are countless instances when F.E.M.A. has used inaccurate or outdated data concerning land elevation and landscape features and in some cases data that is decades old. Most of this is detailed in the 2008 GAO report. The house has been working on HR 3370, The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. This bill will provide relief to home owners who went to great effort and expense and followed all the rules to build back after storms such as Katrina and Hurricane Sandy. This bill will prevent F.E.M.A. from changing the rules and punishing people when it updates their flood maps.”

Below is a list of groups that have endorsed the House bill:

Jack Norris, President, Gulf Coast Business Council: “H.R. 3370 provides long-term sustainability to the National Flood Insurance Program while balancing the need to provide certainty in the market place to continue to attract and grow businesses along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.” 

Mayor Billy Hewes, City of Gulfport: “Passage of H.R. 3370 is critical to the City of Gulfport and other shoreline communities across the country. Coastal communities are the economic engines of the country, and certainly in the State of Mississippi, contributing an estimated $6.6 trillion to the nation’s gross domestic product.”

Marty Milstead, Executive Vice President, Home Builders Association of Mississippi (excerpted): “In just the short time since its enactment, the Biggert-Waters Act has led to numerous failed real estate closings and threatened to freeze the real estate markets across Mississippi and the rest of the nation. H.R. 3370 reverses these devastating effects and serves as a lifeline to homeowners.”

James Ballentine, Executive Vice President for Congressional Relations and Political Affairs, and J. Kevin A. McKechnie, Senior Vice President and Director, Office of Insurance Advocacy, American Bankers Association (excerpted): “The American Bankers Association and the American Bankers Insurance Association strongly supports H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act being taken up by the House of Representatives this week. This important bill addresses National Flood Insurance Program (N.F.I.P.) affordability issues and corrects other unintended consequences resulting from earlier reform efforts.”

National Association of Federal Credit Unions “Thank you for scheduling a vote on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3370). We are already hearing reports from our member credit unions that sharp rises in premium increases are materializing and time is of the essence in addressing this issue.”

Mr. James Tobin, III, Senior Vice President and Chief Lobbyist, National Association of Home Builders (excerpted): “We are especially concerned about unaffordable premiums and inaccuracies in FEMA’s new flood maps. These issues are seriously impacting the construction, remodeling and sale of homes throughout the country at a time when the housing industry is beginning to recover. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act as amended, resolves these issues by providing a more affordable rate structure for policyholders, and repeals point-of-sale rate increases… These provisions will help prevent undue hardship on the recovering housing market, protect home values and increase the viability of the NFIP.” 

Mr. Steve Brown, 2014 President, National Association of REALTORS® (excerpted): “On behalf of over 1 million members, the National Association of REALTORS® strongly urges you to vote for H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act with an amendment. The bill as amended would resolve most of the unintended consequences and uncertainties created by implementation of the Biggert- Waters law and still raise revenue. It would correct the unintended consequences by repealing key provisions that are driving the most excessive and inaccurate rate increases imposed on recent home purchases. It would also require that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (F.E.M.A.) refund excessive premiums to those who already bought a home but were not warned by F.E.M.A. of the increase before purchasing the property.”

Mr. Michael Hecht, President and CEO of Greater New Orleans, Inc., on behalf of the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance: “The legislation proposed by the House of Representatives achieves many of our most important goals. The bill should both protect property owners who have played by the rules and settle real estate markets, while preserving the intent to offer flood insurance at true risk rates. Our coalition will work towards bi-partisan passage of this legislation: ensuring flood insurance remains affordable, while protecting the solvency of the N.F.I.P.”

Mr. Camden Fine, President and CEO, Independent Community Bankers of America (excerpted): “On behalf of the 7,000 community banks represented by I.C.B.A., I write to express our support for the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (H.R. 3370), introduced by Rep. Michael Grimm, which would provide relief from flood insurance premium ‘shock’ that is depressing home values and freezing the market in certain communities. Importantly, H.R. 3370 will provide this relief while ensuring the actuarial soundness of the National Flood Insurance Program (N.F.I.P.).”
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