Covering Louisiana

Jul 16, 2013 10:52 PM by Release

Landrieu: FEMA Officials to Visit La. Communities Affected by NFIP Rate Increases

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., today announced that Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Associate Administrator David Miller, who oversees the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), will join her on August 8, 2013, to meet with Louisiana citizens and officials affected by NFIP rate increases and tour Louisiana's flood protection infrastructure. This will give FEMA a better understanding of how these increases will negatively impact families living and working near the coast.

Mr. Miller agreed to visit affected Louisiana communities last month at the request and invitation of Sen. Landrieu.

"Mr. Miller's trip is critical for FEMA to understand how these rate increases could dramatically burden homeowners and small business owners in Louisiana and throughout the country. I appreciate that Mr. Miller accepted my invitation and look forward to the visit in August. We must find a long-term solution to making flood insurance affordable, accessible and self-sustaining," Sen. Landrieu said. "During FEMA's visit to Louisiana, I hope they will come to understand that flood insurance is about more than just numbers and actuarial tables. It is about our communities; it is about our culture; and it is about preserving this unique and treasured way of life."

In May, Sen. Landrieu introduced the Strengthen, Modernize and Reform The National Flood Insurance Program (SMART NFIP) Act to correct major flaws in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The SMART NFIP Act would delay premium increases, repeal provisions preventing new owners of sold homes to maintain subsidized rates, and allow the rebuilding of key community facilities destroyed in a disaster that lie in high-velocity zones (v-zones).

The rate increases come as part of the flood insurance reauthorization that Congress passed last summer. At the time, Sen. Landrieu repeatedly expressed her concerns about the affordability of flood insurance for Louisiana's middle class families. Unfortunately, no amendments were allowed during the debate, including one authored by Sen. Landrieu that would have created a pilot program to provide means-tested assistance to working and middle class households to help purchase flood insurance. Sen. Landrieu's amendment would have helped many Louisiana homeowners now facing possible premium increases.

Had the Biggert-Waters Act been brought for an up-or-down vote, Sen. Landrieu would have voted against it, as she stated on the Senate floor. Instead, it was part of the transportation bill, which also included Sen. Landrieu's RESTORE Act.

Shortly after the legislation was signed into law in July 2012, Sens. Landrieu and Frank Lautenberg, D-N.J., sent a letter to FEMA expressing their concerns, writing: "It is troubling that many families who continue to suffer from flooding of their homes will now be forced to pay more for flood insurance even though many of them may not be able to afford to do so. Therefore, we respectfully request that you establish a plan to help residents cope with increased costs as a result of the law."

In March, Sen. Landrieu chaired a Small Business Committee roundtable which included an extended discussion on the importance of affordable flood insurance for those living along the United States' coasts.

 

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