Flood premium aid sought in reintroduced invoice

A reintroduced bill seeks to provide certain homeowners affected negatively by the recent repricing of one form of disaster insurance with temporary relief.

The bill, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Transparency and Protection Act, proposes temporarily giving consumers with higher rates the option to revert to the previous pricing model until the Federal Emergency Management Agency takes certain actions. 

Specifically, FEMA would need to provide more transparency into the “2.0” pricing model implemented in 2021, including information about the calculations used, an online database listing premiums, the publication of a “comprehensive assessment” of the new rates’ social and economic impacts, and a public notice and comment period. The new pricing did not lift rates for all borrowers but did for many.

Sens. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Mo., are the bill’s sponsors.

“Our bill requires FEMA to provide clear information to policyholders to help lower premiums and reduce flood risk,” Sen. Cassidy said in a press release.

The proposed legislation will likely need bipartisan support to move ahead but has significance in that it points to a renewed interest on the part of public officials in helping homeowners and mortgage stakeholders address costs related to damage from disasters amid budgetary constraints.

The reintroduction of the bill comes in the wake of a House Financial Services Committee hearing on how to encourage greater flood insurance coverage in America, in which testimony included a call for more consistent rules for coverage applied to home loans.

“Institutions that require flood insurance, such as federally backed mortgages, may not have clear, consistent, and enforced requirements, especially for future flood risks,” Carlos Martín, remodeling futures director at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, testified.

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