Oct 26 2007
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today introduced legislation to assist families impacted by the modernization of the National Flood Insurance Program’s flood maps and the potential decertification of levees across the country.
Under the “Homeowners Flood Insurance Protection Act,” homeowners would be eligible to receive a fifty percent discount on their flood insurance premiums for the first five years following the decertification of a levee. This would save most California families in a newly-zoned high risk residential areas more than $500 each year, or roughly $40 dollars each month.
“Homeowners who have paid their taxes and helped to pay for the upkeep of a levee, may now find themselves required to pay an additional insurance premium because of the failing levee in their backyard,” Senator Feinstein said. “Many of the impacted homeowners in California and across the country are low-income earners, and this increasing burden threatens to break the bank. This bill would soften the blow for homeowners in newly-zoned high risk flood areas.”
The goal of the five-year reprieve is to give the responsible agencies time to bring the levees up to standard. Additionally, the five-year limit allows this legislation to accomplish its objectives in a manner that is fiscally responsible.
This discount only applies to individuals required to pay flood insurance due to a levee being recently decertified. The discount will not apply to homes built after the enactment of this Act.
Representative Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.) authored a similar amendment to the House of Representative’s flood insurance overhaul bill (H.R. 3121). His amendment passed by voice vote and is now included in the House-passed legislation.
Senators Trent Lott and Thad Cochran (both R-Miss) joined Senator Feinstein in introducing the “Homeowners Flood Insurance Protection Act” today.
For nearly 40 years, the National Flood Insurance Program has been instrumental in making flood insurance readily available to all Americans. However, the program is in need of modernization following the record-breaking losses suffered as a result of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.
To ensure the continued viability of the National Flood Insurance Program, flood maps need to be updated and a thorough review of the nation’s flood protection systems must occur.
In areas where the national flood map update results in the decertification of a levee, those living nearby will be required to purchase flood insurance. This impacts all communities that contain levees which do not provide protection from the 1 percent annual chance flood.
In California there are more than 136 communities that contain at least one levee that will be impacted by the decertification process. These communities contain levees that will be – or may have already been – remapped and decertified for not providing protection from the 1 percent annual chance flood.