WASHINGTON, D.C. – May 12, 2014 – (RealEstateRama) — Today officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) briefed Congressman Kevin Cramer and other members of the Home Protection Caucus on the implementation of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, which Cramer cosponsored. The law retroactively repeals certain rate increases in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, allows individuals to receive refunds if incorrectly charged, and expands the scope of the affordability study already required to be conducted by FEMA.
Cramer engaged FEMA on their implementation of the law, and their progress in developing the necessary protocols to issue refunds, update mapping procedures, and revise the rate structure for Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) properties. FEMA said its initial priority is stopping policy increases as required under the law, and said it plans to issue guidance in the coming months for insurance companies to begin issuing refunds where necessary. Agency officials also provided a status report on key priorities of implementation.
“After listening to the FEMA Director and his team, it is clear their process of working through this law is going to require some patience. In the meantime, I encourage anyone who received a flood insurance bill which is substantially higher than it was before to go back and talk to their agent and ask for clarification, and assistance from my office if necessary. The refund process will be more time consuming than taking care of the issue beforehand,” said Cramer. “FEMA pledged regular Congressional notification as they continue progressing, and I was encouraged by the assurance that communities will be well-involved in the mapping process. I intend to make sure FEMA fulfills this promise to our North Dakota communities.”
Last month FEMA announced it is moving forward with repealing certain flood insurance rate increases as required under the new law. A bulletin from FEMA directs flood insurance providers to stop charging full-risk rates for all types of Pre-FIRM properties covered by Section 3 of the legislation, including primary residences and businesses. Cramer said the law is designed to ease the burden of the leap to full risk rates.
Policyholders and other individuals with questions about implementation can find more information at http://www.fema.gov/flood-insurance-reform.