Senators, along with Mass. delegation, helped lead effort to protect home and business owners from unaffordable insurance rate hikes
Washington (January 30, 2014) – Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey praised today’s passage in the Senate of the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act,” bipartisan legislation that will protect millions of homeowners from facing flood insurance premium rate hikes and require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to complete an affordability study and propose real solutions to address affordability issues before any flood insurance premiums can be raised in the future. As flood zones are updated as a result of implementation of the Biggert-Waters National Flood Insurance Reform Act, many families in Massachusetts and across the country have been placed into a flood zone for the first time and are being asked to pay thousands of dollars in premiums under new flood insurance rate rules.
“The bipartisan Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act is an important step forward for Massachusetts families who are in jeopardy of losing their homes because of huge hikes in their flood insurance rates,” said Senator Warren. “This bill will require FEMA to make certain that its maps are accurate, reliable, and reflect the best available scientific data, and I urge the House to take up and pass this bill without delay. I’m committed to working with my colleagues to make sure that families who played by the rules can stay in their homes.”
“I have met with and heard the fear and frustration of homeowners and businesses in Massachusetts impacted by new flood insurance policies – in Marshfield, Gloucester, Quincy, Newburyport, and Scituate,” said Senator Markey. “This bill will help them and all those across the country facing unaffordable spikes in flood insurance rates by ensuring that we have addressed the affordability of flood insurance before any crippling rate increases go into effect.
“However, I am concerned that language that would have guaranteed a vote on the affordability regulations FEMA is directed to propose has been removed from this version of the legislation. I stand ready to do all that I can to ensure that Congress acts to give FEMA the authority it may need to implement a permanent remedy that addresses the unaffordable flood insurance premiums that some residents and small businesses of Massachusetts may face.
“I thank my colleagues, especially Senators Menendez, Isakson, and Landrieu for all of their leadership on this issue and will continue to work to ensure that this bill is enacted into law,” concluded Senator Markey.
Senators Warren and Markey are original co-sponsors of the legislation. In September, Senator Markey led the entire Massachusetts Congressional delegation in a letter to House and Senate leadership calling for fixes to the Biggert-Waters National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 to avoid increases to home and business owner insurance premiums. In October, Senators Markey and Warren signed a bipartisan letter calling for a one-year delay of the new insurance rates. In December, members of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation sent a letter to FEMA requesting a delay in the implementation of the Commonwealth’s new flood maps until they are amended to appropriately reflect the geographic region.