UPDATE – March 21, 2014 President Obama signed the “Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act” into law. This law repeals FEMA’s authority to increase premium rates at time of sale or new flood map, and refunds the excessive premium to those who bought a property before FEMA warned the of the rate increase. What does the bill do? It limits premium increases to 18% annually on newer properties and 25% for some older properties. The bill also adds a small assessment on policies until everyone is paying full cost for flood insurance.
Just 12 days ago the Congress passed a law authorizing FEMA to make the program more fiscally sound. The results are hurting homeownership and this bill is aimed to stop implementing the changes, so it can better get a handle on how the rates are calculated and create an advocate group so consumers can get help. Our NAR Realtors have sent 80,000 letters to members of congress fighting for home owners rights. This issue is especially of great importance to the State of Florida.
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Austin Perez an Environmental Policy Representative for National Association of REALTORS writes: This bipartisan legislation, an NAR member priority, calls for a 4-year timeout on rate increases triggered either by a property’s sale or a flood map update for a property with previously grandfathered rates. NAR provided Congress with expert testimony suggesting that many of these increases are excessive and inaccurate. The bill also creates a flood insurance advocate within the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) to investigate home owner complaints of multiple different or excessive rate quotes. The Senate vote sends the measure to the House of Representatives, where Reps. Grimm (R-NY) and Waters (D-CA) have already built an impressive list of 181 co-sponsors in favor of the bill; a total that is 30 votes shy of a House majority NAR will redouble its efforts there to persuade the House leadership to bring a similar bill up for a floor vote at the earliest opportunity.
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