Senate Passes Flood Insurance Delay, Agent Licensing Bill

By Andrew G. Simpson | January 30, 2014
Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Mary Landrieu
AP Photo

Majority Leader Harry Reid, Sen. Mary Landrieu
AP Photo


  • January 30, 2014 at 3:49 pm
    John Fisher says:
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    I see this causing problems. Should homeowners in flood zones be dumping those properties in advance of the rate increase? What about realtors? Do they now have a duty to advise (i.e. warn) prospects of the impending rate increases for homes in flood zones? Is there any way to estimate how high the rate on a particular property will go?

    • January 31, 2014 at 11:08 am
      Danielle says:
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      Realtors always have a fiduciary responsibility. So if they are representing the seller their responsibility to the seller’s best interests, if they are representing a buyer they should be educated on all things that could have a negative impact on the buyer, such as flood insurance premiums and future legislation. A good real estate agent is on top of any current or future legislation that could have an impact on their clients. Make sure you find a good agent, and do your own homework as well.

    • February 2, 2014 at 9:04 pm
      gerard says:
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      Big insurance is corrupt and greedy. Of course they want Biggert-Waters to pass! Big insurance would rather collect 50% of 20K then 50% of 2K! They care only about profits and shareholders. How can any business charge 50% to service a contract! This has to be investigated and the insurance companies regulated and limited by the government. Perhaps limit the amount of profits they can make until they are returned to the policyholders in the form of a credit the next year. Something has to be done about the high cost of flood insurance and it should start with the insurance companies!!
      STOP FEMA NOW!!

      • February 4, 2014 at 9:53 am
        Agent says:
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        gerard, I appreciate your position, but isn’t the larger problem the inept, corrupt Federal Government NFIP program which has been badly managed over a long period of time. FEMA is basically a joke. That was proven during Katrina.

      • February 4, 2014 at 3:14 pm
        Bob says:
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        The suggestion of a credit at the end of a year shows you have little understanding of how insurance works. When times are good, you keep the money in reserve. When times are bad you need to tap those reserves to pay for the catastrophe.

        We can argue about what the proper commission and servicing fees should be, but a basic understanding of how the insurance industry functions would help.

        • February 4, 2014 at 3:53 pm
          Agent says:
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          Bob, I have seen arguments for the past few years that Flood should be privatized and let the Insurance Industry write it all. I am not so sure they have the funds necessary to pay for the kind of disasters we have seen. We think Tornado’s and Hurricanes generate big losses. They are small fry losses compared to a general flood over a wide area such as the Mississippi basin where a number of tributaries flow into it and it gets out of hand when there are heavy rains upstream. The mighty Mississippi is big, but it still cannot handle that runoff.

        • February 9, 2014 at 10:57 am
          gerard says:
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          Bob, If you comprehended my post, I stated that a credit should be issued back (even in the form of a reduced premium) AFTER a profit by the insurance companies. But the insurance companies should not be allowed to continually gouge customers, penalize them for a claim and then look for bailouts. The excess profits should be placed in secured accounts used only for future disasters. We have to stop the good times that the insurance companies have been enjoying for far too long. They are here to serve their policyholders.

          And we must have new federal regulations to monitor and limit the power that insurance companies have over the people and the percentage amounts they make off of policies.

          • February 10, 2014 at 8:06 pm
            flood aware says:
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            While I enjoy your Monday morning quarterbacking I must tell you as a flood victim of Lee in PA it is quite funny to listen (read) your abstract opinions. My house is elevated I have never had water in my living space before. I bought flood insurance ever since it was available, I could have afforded to pay higher premiums even twice as much over the years no one asked. To now have these anti-humanity, corporation supporting primarily right wing people decide that owners can just pay 5 times as much in one year is more than infuriating. Why not just use emanate domain and acquire the properties. The mitigation funding for individuals is a joke, your community has to start the process and once they realize that your property will come off the tax roles because now it is a park that they have to pay to maintain forget that!
            What will happen here is people will not be insured because it is beyond there means,property will be foreclosed for lack of insurance, a disaster will happen, and you will have totally homeless persons.
            Not only will the tax base be destroyed but surrounding property devalued. A real win-win for communities.
            Yesterday I actually had to call and email my insurance agent the agent that does the homeowners cars etc. But they also somehow sell you your flood and have absolutely no idea how it works. They new nothing about Biggert-Waters or Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 nothing.
            They had no idea that if they change carriers and moved their clients it would prompt a new policy be written and my insurance would also quadruple.
            So we have my local insurance provider getting a cut and providing nothing, then we have the flood carrier getting a cut and acting like its their money if you have a claim, and the poor FEMA people have to deal with not only people in a disaster, finding shelter and food, standing right there on the ground with you looking at your destroyed home but they have to deal with these cubical sitting so and so’s. Why can we not just buy directly from the government. Cut the middle man. FEMA was in my house 4 days after the water receded . The adjuster took 21 days.
            My insurance company was totally useless and detrimental. Told people not to remove carpets or open walls before their lame butts showed up. Do you have any Idea what happens if you don’t do that stuff? I have ranted now and really could go on .

  • January 30, 2014 at 4:02 pm
    Bill Price says:
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    Totals for an un-totaled Congressional Research Report shows $5.5 billion surplus 12/31/11 for NFIP, and 6 months later, a $17.5 billion deficit. No way this can be correct.
    We did find that Insurance Companies ( with “no risk” ) were being paid from 33% to 66% commission and management fees by NFIP, and un-insured properties were being paid to rebuild first, sign-up later, BUT we can’t find a comprehensive financial overview of the Flood Insurance program.
    Seems like we need to see the numbers for the Flood Insurance Program before any decisions should be made to Raise Rates.
    Bill Price USLandAlliance.US

    • January 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm
      Baxtor says:
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      Bill,
      The sad thing is this should have been addressed after the study, but instead they wait until the last minute and then dump it onto the tax payer again. If there is waste, it should have been investigated, and if people were paid for doing nothing, maybe pressing charges on the ones who authorized payment. But we know that will never happen.

      • January 30, 2014 at 5:46 pm
        Bill Price says:
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        I’ve seen a 100 pounds of reports on the NFIP from umpty- dozen Official Federal Offices and derivative Sycophantic Organizations, but none have provided any comprehensive overview of Flood Insurance Program Actuarial history.
        How in the world can they make rational public policy, with no comprehensive overview of the program?
        But, the really insidious part is that BW-12 forces FEMA to impose planning policy for Accelerated Sea Level Rise, based on Hundred Million Dollar EPA and NOAA faked-up data. (Go to USlandAlliance.US > Flood Insurance > To FEMA to see how this has been orchestrated.)
        Sad.
        Bill Price

  • January 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm
    Baxtor says:
    Hot debate. What do you think?
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    Must be nice to have the american people pay to subsidize your flood rates. The states that votes yes on this should have money taken from Federal money given to them to pay any claims that occur over the budget. I guess that means we need to start now at the cost of about $24 billion. Sad our government is so worthless that instead of trying to come up with a solution, they instead just delay it for a few years. Must be nice to be able to dump their responsibilites onto the American Taxpayer. I wish I could do that with my own budget…not!

    • January 31, 2014 at 9:17 am
      Squandered Youth says:
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      We need to separate going-forward rates from the $24 billion NFIP deficit. There can and should be a meaningful debate about what a sound going-forward rate should be. One of B-W’s biggest problems, however, is that it had an almost exclusive rearward focus on trying to find a mechanism to make present and future owners pay off a pre-existing debt. Even worse, the way it was done had a multiplier effect, since the more an owner’s premium increased due to remapping, the greater the share of paying of the NFIP debt was added on top of that.

      The $24 NFIP debt SHOULD be the responsibility of the American taxpayer. The huge losses resulting from Katrina were primarily the result of some bad Army Corps decisions in managing levees. It was made worse by decisions to use the NFIP as a vehicle (with minimal fraud protections)to atone for bad Katrina response. It was made even worse by bad decisions by FEMA in controlling administrative expenses, resulting in only 46% of premiums being available to pay claims. None of these decisions were made by current or future owners, who share no greater or less responsibility for them than taxpayers as a whole. Trying to shift responsibility for these bad decisions to owners is not only unfair and being done in a way that will cost the economy more than the $24 billion being recovered, but is, in effect, a subsidy for bad government that lets taxpayers off the hook for bad decisions by their elected officials.

      • February 2, 2014 at 8:39 am
        Margaret Rickards says:
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        You actually know what you are talking about!1! Thank you. I was in the federal disaster in PA in sept of 2011. we never had water in our home before we are elevated above the 100 year flood mark as required. I have had insurance for 25 years. My entire 1st floor was devastated.
        If my premiums we at the most tripled I could afford that by pinching pennies choice but they are going to be 6 to 8 times higher. If I cut my coverage in half I could still be facing $8000.00 Year. We can not afford that
        So My choice is to sell if I can, stay and pray with no insurance. and abandon my property if it becomes unlivable and believe me thats what I will do. I am 62 and my husband is 66. husband.

    • February 1, 2014 at 5:08 pm
      gerard says:
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      I am more tired funding about 14 BILLION in farm aid, the upwardly rising food stamp and welfare programs, Medicaid and the outrageously expensive Obamacare debacle too.

    • February 2, 2014 at 9:09 pm
      gerard says:
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      Sounds fair!! Maybe New York State can just keep the money we send to the federal government which is billions more than we ever get back. Sounds like a win-win. Thanks for the great idea Baxtor!!

    • February 18, 2014 at 12:38 am
      flood aware says:
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      Every “bad” word i can think of. you *** Maybe if for profit insurance companies would offer flood NFIP would not be needed. Years ago before plywood was raised to over $15 per sheet gouging after hurricane Andrew we really did not as a nation think about floods. The freaking taxpayer “me” was not supposed to be on the “hook” we paid premiums just like every other insurance plan. My insurance is not subsidized only 20% of NFIP insured are subsidized under grandfathering. Lets face it third party payer (insurance) has been so detrimental to this country it is terrible. Both the companies who bill and the persons who pay for insurance see it as a faceless gold mine when in reality it is us. Now however the gouging has caught up with everyone premiums are becoming as unaffordable as actually paying for the service. It will take decades to get this monkey off our backs and go back to paying (or not paying) our own bills as we are able. Do you know why Americans are such a litigious people because they see it as a lottery if you sue someone and win or settle you may be able to actually retire and afford to live, have healthcare etc.

  • January 30, 2014 at 4:15 pm
    bob says:
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    “The legislation approved today by the Senate doesn’t make flood insurance cheaper, it just makes the American taxpayer foot the bill for other peoples’ flood insurance”

    AMEN! let’s hope the house kills this. enough dipping in the taxpayers pocket. pay for your own flood insurance and quit having me help you with it.

    • January 30, 2014 at 4:44 pm
      Agent says:
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      Bob, we have seen the same thing with Health Insurance under Obamacare. The healthy young are supposed to pay for the older, sicker population. Having the American people subsidize flood is about the same thing. Are we going to see a surcharge on our Homeowners business to subsidize Flood? Is it like the Terrorism charge for business packages?

      • February 18, 2014 at 12:45 am
        flood aware says:
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        I can not wait till you become older and sicker. We really should legalize euthanasia so we old sicker people, and young sick people oh yes and children sick people could just be put down and stop costing you young compassionate people any Starbucks latte.

  • January 30, 2014 at 4:18 pm
    john doe says:
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    I don’t ask for taxpayers subsidies to pay my homeowners or auto premiums; why should I subsidize somebody else’s flood insurance?

  • January 30, 2014 at 4:19 pm
    john doe says:
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    I don’t ask for taxpayer money to subsidize my homeowners premiums. Why should they get taxpayers help to pay their flood premiums?

    • February 2, 2014 at 9:15 pm
      gerard says:
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      Hmmm, maybe we should stop subsidizing farmers too! That 15 Billion big ones! And health care too. That’s another Trillion. Maybe you are on to something!

  • January 30, 2014 at 4:47 pm
    TAR says:
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    Right Baxtor!
    The funniest thing in the article: “Earlier this week, the White House expressed budgetary and constitutional concerns with both the flood insurance delay”. Since when is Obama & his administration concerned with the Constitution?

    • January 30, 2014 at 6:00 pm
      Agent says:
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      He isn’t. All he has stated is he intends to use the phone and pen to go around Congress if they don’t give him what he wants. When is enough enough? Congress needs to grow a backbone and start Impeachment proceedings.

      • January 31, 2014 at 8:42 am
        brokie says:
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        That is profoundly stupid. Impeachment proceedings – what exactly are the high crimes or misdemeanors? Statements like ‘impeachment’ = birther, bagger, gun nut or all of them. CONGRESS needs to focus on creating jobs, not constantly attempting to limit, restrict, abolish reproductive rights for women.

        • January 31, 2014 at 12:42 pm
          Agent says:
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          Brokie, you are profoundly stupid and certainly not paying attention to what is going on in the world. You sound a lot like an OWS convert. Still drinking that Kool Aid and smoking that pot?

      • January 31, 2014 at 10:31 am
        JacksonGundorg says:
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        Agent,
        Before you continue to put your foot in your mouth by clamouring for impeachment because of the amount of executive orders the POTUS as signed, do a little research outside of Fox News and see how many executive orders past Presidents have signed. You will be surprised.

        • January 31, 2014 at 12:47 pm
          Agent says:
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          Jackson, There have been many things this President has done to warrant Impeachment. Trying to rule like a Dictator is only the most recent. How about serial lying to the American People that if you like your Healthcare, you can keep it, PERIOD! If you like your doctor, you can keep him, PERIOD! You will save $2,500 on your family premiums! All are bald faced lies that will affect hundreds of millions of citizens when the dust clears this year. This President is the Liar in Chief and does not represent the people so he needs to be held accountable for the mess he has made with both Healthcare and the Economy which has been in the doldrums for 5 years and is getting worse.

  • January 30, 2014 at 8:38 pm
    JulesGa says:
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    FEMA’s own publications show it collected $6 billion more in premiums than it paid in claims through 2012. I’m no math whiz so I’m having trouble making $6 billion in the black = $24 billion in the red. I’m sure there is no mismanagement on the part of FEMA. No, couldn’t be. It has to be that homeowners somehow got hold of all that money.

    • February 2, 2014 at 8:40 pm
      gerard says:
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      Great post! The US Senate has to get this information for an investigation. I actually feel flood premiums should be reduced!!!

  • January 31, 2014 at 10:52 am
    HighandDry says:
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    Is there tornado insurance? Fire in hills out west insurance? In fourty years never had water/floods or flood insurance but all of a sudden there is insurance to satisfy the bank and insurance company. Now I’m up to almost $2,000.00 per year to pay for damage to homes on the beach, insurance company fees and so the bankers can sleep nights. I can’t afford this at the current rates and can’t head for the hills as the folks on the rivers are probably in the same boat. So I need to pay for all the woes of politicians and federal mismanagement and also watch my tax dollars go overseas to help flood zones not in the U.S.
    So the Senate says give the little guy a break for a few years before we empty his pockets and the House thinks we should just give all our hard earned pay to FEMA. Good Grief! And all these folks chirping in to slam the folks near water, may the earthquake, fire, tornados and sink holes threaten your way of life so FEMA can redraw the maps for all the other natural disasters heading our way. Just think of all the money they can squeeze out of taxpayers.

    • February 2, 2014 at 8:53 pm
      gerard says:
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      Will FEMA single out coastal properties for egregious premiums and onerous modifications like elevating homes or will FEMA demand that homes, businesses and apartment complexes in tornado areas be built under ground now? What about existing structures? Will they too be forced to pay 10k-30k premiums? And what about homes in mud slide areas or areas of brush or forest fires??

      STOP FEMA NOW!!!!

  • January 31, 2014 at 6:22 pm
    riskmanager says:
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    The delay is certainly NOT a solution but it does provide an opportunity for every citizen to get in front of your Congressman/Senator to voice your frustration with FEMA. The worst part of BW12 is the elimination of grandfathering for structures to the standards that exists at the time of construction. With revised maps released every 5-8 years; they have an opportunity to change the rules with every map revision. It is IMPOSSIBLE to quantify risk if NFIP modifies the rules every map revision. This is nothing more than a subsidy for the federal government; insurance companies; and mortgage lenders. Allow me to quantify the risks and choose my level of insurance! I will gladly take responsibility for decisions to live and work along the coast!!

  • February 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm
    3H-Rider says:
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    One thing I wish everyone could understand is that these new FEMA flood maps were drawn up by people siting at computers using 2 dimensional digital maps, which of course, don’t take into account elevation.

    Because there is a small creek on a neighbors property our home was placed into a flood zone. We’ve lived here since 1985 and have never experienced any flooding. According to neighbors who’s families have been here for generations, this area has never flooded.

    On Dec. 7, 2013 we received a letter notifying us that we had to have an Elevation Certificate done and submitted 30 days before our policy runs out on March 1, 2014. With everyone disappearing for 2 weeks over the holidays we had 5 weeks to find a surveyor and figure out how to pay for the certificate. The survey is done and proves our house is in no danger of being flooded, but because of the fake flood maps we are still being forced to buy flood ins. We haven’t received the bill from the surveyor yet but we will be forced deeper into debt (the cost will be somewhere between $600 and $2500). All of this because we took out a home equity loan to consolidate several smaller loans.

    We aren’t wealthy people with a beach front property. We are a single income couple living in the middle of Pennsylvania.

    For those who feel they shouldn’t be subsidizing flood insurance premiums, think about how we feel. We don’t need flood ins but are being forced to buy it because FEMA convinced Congress to back a plan that is based on fake maps and fairytale scenarios. On top of that we’re still paying taxes, just like you, for FEMA to use to respond to tornadoes, earthquakes, wildfires, chemical plant explosions and chemical spills, etc. Anybody else wondering why folks in those situations aren’t being forced to buy insurance?

    One last point I’d like to make, we found out we were put in a flood zone from the bank when we applied for the home equity loan. No one in our area was ever notified of the changes, it came completely out of the blue.

    • February 2, 2014 at 9:32 pm
      gerard says:
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      They are redlining every policyholder anywhere near water. If that is the case, every home and business should be mandated to carry flood insurance! Heavy rains can flood any house or crawl space. Look at how Colorado flooded several months ago! Colorado, elevation- Mile High!!!!

      STOP FEMA NOW

  • February 1, 2014 at 7:14 pm
    Stop Fema Now Connecticut says:
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    Stopfemanow.com….FEMA’s maps are incredibly flawed and we, the middle class, will suffer the most if BW is not repealed or overhauled! I live inland with a small brook (THAT DOES NOT FLOOD) here in CT and my flood premiums have doubled over 7 years with the risk of increasing 20-25% annually over the next several years…myself nor my neighbors can sustain these outrageous premium hikes. We will certainly lose our homes and our town’s tax basis will suffer…An in-depth investigation needs to happen as FEMA has proven to be one of the most wasteful parts of the Homeland Security Branch of our govt. Close financial scrutiny and oversight is needed to uncover just how much money they have squandered over the years. Let’s all remember that during Katrina, it was the government’s levees that did not hold up as they were neglected. Many in LA who built their own levees were untouched by Katrina as their levees stood the test. Why didn’t the army corps of engineers maintain these flood safeguards like they were supposed to?? This government continues to fail us. Join Stopfemanow.com –We are unified across every state to stop BW from causing foreclosure to 5MM homes due to unaffordable flood insurance!

  • February 2, 2014 at 8:27 pm
    gerard says:
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    The government enabled the coastal communities to grow, going all the way back to 1968. The government has a moral obligation to continue supporting the taxpayers that have moved there ever since. Biggert-Waters looks to penalize homeowners that played by the rules.

    Should the elderly be penalized and have their social security checks significantly reduced because it strains the taxpayer? What about those citizens that have their healthcare fully paid by the government? Should we continue to foot that bill? Why did we pay the federal workers BILLIONS for non-work during the government shut-down? And lastly, why are we paying farmers crop insurance and for them not to plant crops to the tune of 15 BILLION per year!

    And most importantly, why do we, the policy holders, pay the insurance companies up to 60% commission for our flood policies. That needs to be investigated by the US Senate!!

  • February 3, 2014 at 12:42 am
    Dave Burton says:
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    Don’t let anyone tell you this is “subsidizing” flood insurance for coastal homeowners. That’s absolutely untrue.

    President Obama (among others) wants a small percentage of Americans — those who live near the coasts — to pay off the cost of the federal government’s failed New Orleans levees, by paying ruinous rates for homeowners insurance, while enabling him to pretend to have not raised taxes. His policy is also supported by radical “green” activists who want to make coastal development economically unfeasible, by making mandatory flood insurance unaffordable.

    That’s just wrong. It is morally wrong, and it is bad economic policy. Federal flood insurance on coastal property in many States, like North Carolina, is already profitable, without these rate increases.

    Insurance rates are supposed to be based on the risks associated with the properties being insured. Raising their flood insurance rates would only make sense if the high losses in New Orleans and the profits in other States were products of mere random luck, implying that future risk to property in those States is higher than their loss history suggests.

    But we know that isn’t true. Most States do not have cities which are built below sea-level, behind federally-constructed levees of questionable integrity. It’s not fair to make coastal homeowners in those States bear the burden by themselves of paying for the federal government’s expensive New Orleans levee blunder, while other citizens pay nothing.

    Note, however, that this bill is just a band-aid. Biggert-Waters contains many other very bad provisions, including provisions which appear to be designed to increase the cost of insurance and discourage coastal development.

    For instance, it has a provision encouraging, for the first time, the squandering of federal flood insurance premium money on private “reinsurance,” of the sort which has wiped out most of the reserves of the NC Beach Plan (now called the NC Coastal Property Insurance Pool). That’s just a way to siphon money from Americans, and put it into the pockets of (mostly foreign) reinsurance companies.

    If there’s any entity on planet Earth which should self-insure, it’s the U.S. federal government! Private reinsurance makes no sense at all for the federal government. It is a scam, pure and simple, by an unholy alliance of reinsurance companies and leftist Climate Movement activists.

    Biggert-Waters also has a provision directing FEMA to draw all new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The new flood maps will, for the first time, incorporate “climate science” to make sea-level rise projections. Those are code words meaning that new flood maps are to be based on future, hypothetical, politically-driven predictions of wildly accelerated sea-level rise, which are thoroughly inconsistent with sound scientific analysis.

    It sets up a body to oversee this process, called the TMAC (Technical Mapping Advisory Council). This process will create fanciful “flood maps” which make billions of dollars worth of coastal property undevelopable, and which have nothing at all to do with real flood risk. It could end up being even a bigger economic catastrophe for coastal communities than the disastrous Biggert-Waters insurance provisions.

    Biggert-Waters is a man-made disaster, and it needs to be repealed altogether. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 doesn’t do that, but it is a good first step.

    A good source for more information is the NC-20 web site.

    • February 3, 2014 at 6:28 pm
      Joseph says:
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      A great and very eye-opening post!!! Keep getting out this great information Dave! Spread the word to call your Congressman to let him know we want BW rescinded.

      STOP FEMA NOW!!

  • February 3, 2014 at 2:15 pm
    Sean says:
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    Please government, cut everything that doesn’t benefit me in some way. Thanks.

  • February 8, 2014 at 8:40 pm
    California Resident says:
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    Bought brand new home in 2004 in California’s central valley built to the then current FEMA flood specifications. Five years later in 2009 FEMA remapped our city and decided 8,900 ‘additional’ residences were suddenly in their ‘high risk flood zone’. From ‘low’ risk’ (flood ins. not required) to ‘high risk’…with just the stroke of FEMA’s pen! For those who say “it’s all your fault for buying in a flood zone or buying along the coast”…hello, we didn’t! Also realize that it can happen to anyone, even you! For several years you have a lovely home in a lovely neighborhood and the next day your home suddenly is deemed in a high risk flood zone, your property loses half its value, you can’t sell it, neighbors abandon their property because they are underwater on their mortgages, criminal activity ensues and as a bonus, you’re saddled with exorbitant flood insurance premiums.



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