The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, passed in July, 2012, was enacted to help the federal government move toward eliminating a $25 billion shortfall in flood claims. It was also designed to make insurance rates more closely reflect the risk of building and owning homes in flood zones.
As the legislation begins to take effect, the real and potential impact is concerning to Hodnett Cooper, coastal Georgia homeowners and elected officials. Among the far-reaching implications are flood insurance rate increases for homeowners that are financially unfeasible, declines in property values and inability to sell homes due to disproportionate flood insurance rates.
Prior to implementation, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which administers the law, failed to report to Congress on the affordability of implementation decisions, as required by law, and FEMA failed to warn buyers of rate increases before they purchased their property, effectively lowering the value of their new purchases.
While many organizations, including the National Association of Realtors, support the intent of Biggert-Waters, most agree the law has not been implemented as intended.
Forbes magazine reports, “Even the congresswoman who co-sponsored the federal insurance reform act is crying foul. ‘When I agreed to co-author this legislation, our goal was to create a bipartisan solution to repair our National Flood Insurance Program,’ said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) She added that ‘neither Democrats nor Republicans envisioned it would reap the kind of harm and heartache that may result from this law going into effect.’”
The “harm and heartache” Waters refers to are soaring flood insurance rates. The Biggert-Waters Act will stop the transfer of policies upon the sale of properties, creating difficulty in the recovering housing market. New FEMA maps will place structures built to code out of compliance.
On January 7, Congressman Thomas Marino introduced legislation to fully repeal all policy aspects of the Flood Insurance Reform Act. In addition, other bi-partisan bills relating to the delay of the premium increases have been introduced.
Hodnett Cooper Real Estate has been working tirelessly with our elected officials to repeal the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. To effect action, our representatives need to hear from individuals as well. Please reach out to your representatives in Congress and ask then to support the legislation to repeal the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act or at a minimum delay the implementation for at least a year so a viable and affordable solution can be determined.