BRADENTON – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the House flood insurance reform bill on Thursday, paving the way for immediate relief to hundreds of thousands of homeowners experiencing drastic increases in premiums. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (H.R. 3370), which recently passed the House 306-91, is also seen as a stabilizing measure to the real estate market, where experts warned that uncertainty could cause sales in severely-impacted areas to grind to a halt.
Congressman Buchanan speaks at a recent public meeting
on flood insurance reform in Sarasota.
The bill now heads to the President’s desk to be signed into law.
The bill is a response to unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) which called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies to make a number of changes to the way the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is administered, including raising rates to reflect true flood risk in order to help make the program more financially stable.
The law went into effect, however, at the same time as revised flood plane maps, which meant that homes that were suddenly classified as a higher risk could see staggering increases overnight.
“Thousands of homeowners in Sarasota and Manatee Counties can breathe a little easier now,” said Congressman Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat Key), Co-Chair of Florida’s congressional delegation, who championed the new bill. “The overwhelming bipartisan support for this measure is a shining example of how Congress could work – and should work.”
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