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Congressman Gus Bilirakis

Representing the 12th District of Florida

Bilirakis Supports Flood Insurance Reform Package

November 15, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC:  Reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a big deal to many residents of Florida’s 12th Congressional district and for the local economy.  The majority of constituents who participate in this program live in modest homes, many of which are not even on the water.  While the program was extended to December of this year and Congress provided emergency funding to keep it operational, it is imperative to ensure the long-term sustainability of this critical program.  Congressman Bilirakis has been leading the bi-partisan charge behind the scenes for several months to make the reauthorization bill first introduced by the House Committee on Financial Services a better product that will be more favorable to Floridians. Today, with Congressman Bilirakis’ support, the House passed the improved bill. The bill includes the following positive provisions, many of which were the direct result of concessions that were made after tireless advocacy by Congressman Bilirakis.  The bill:

  • Reauthorizes the program for 5 years
  • Decreases the annual subsidy phase-out from 18% to 15%
  • Requires FEMA to be transparent about how it determines annual premium rates
  • Requires FEMA to differentiate between inland and coastal properties in calculating premium rates
  • Allows for monthly payment options
  • Requires disclosure by FEMA and/or seller of property that there have been prior NFIP claims or flood damage to property
  • Creates an online system to allow people to see zip-code specific flood risk information, and FEMA must make available all data used in assessing flood risk and creating premiums
  • Creates a new appeals process when FEMA denies an updated map request if there is new information, such as flood mitigation efforts
  • Adds replacement cost value of property in determining premium rate calculations.  This means that low income people will not be subsidizing million dollar homes
  • Encourages private insurance participation in the flood insurance market, allowing for competitive premium rates
  • Eliminates the requirement that commercial properties be covered by NFIP
  • Allows new construction dwellings to participate in the program
  • Allows for premium rate reductions for flood risk mitigation
  • Ensures that no federal loan shall be made or extended on real estate in a special flood hazard area unless the property is covered by flood insurance for the life of the loan, whether the coverage is through NFIP or a private policy. This will help broaden the base of policyholders
  • Allows for factors other than flood rate maps to be factored into premium rates.  This helps limit the bad effects of outdated flood rate maps

While I was not happy with every provision of the bill, it does ensure the continuation of the program with some safeguards to ensure affordability, encourage private providers to enter the market and require greater transparency within the program.  It is important to remember that there are many members of Congress who wanted to see the elimination of NFIP, which would have been catastrophic for our community.  The program simply had to be re-authorized and I believe there is truth to the old adage that we cannot allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good.  This fight is not over; however, I will continue to work on additional measures to make flood insurance coverage more affordable for my constituents,” said Congressman Bilirakis.