Crist Joins Chairman Pallone Announcing Reintroduction of the NFIP Reauthorization and Reform Act

U.S. Representative Charlie Crist (D-St. Petersburg) joined Chairman Frank Pallone (D-NJ) in announcing reintroduction of the bipartisan National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization and Reform Act, comprehensive legislation to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years, guarantee affordable flood insurance, and make critical reforms to the NFIP.  Crist is an original cosponsor of the bill, along with Reps. Higgins (R-LA), Pascrell (D-NJ), Van Drew (R-NJ), Payne (D-NJ), Smith (R-NJ), Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Norcross (D-NJ), Sherrill (D-NJ), Malinowski (D-NJ), and Sires (D-NJ).

The NFIP Reauthorization and Reform Act includes a number of affordability measures, including capping annual flood insurance rate increases at 9% to combat sharp premium hikes under FEMA’s new Risk Rating 2.0 pricing methodology.  Rep. Crist has been an ongoing critic of Risk Rating 2.0, recently publishing an op-ed on the subject, as well as sending a letter to Speaker Pelosi and Leader McCarthy urging a delay in the implementation of Risk Rating 2.0 until Congress can provide full oversight and enact appropriate affordability measures.

The legislation also creates a State Flood Mitigation Revolving Loan Fund to help fund flood mitigation projects for homeowners, businesses, nonprofits, and communities. The program would allow states to offer low-interest loans to NFIP participants for flood mitigation projects to better protect their properties, reduce their flood risk, and lower their insurance premiums. This program is closely modeled off Crist legislation offered in both the 116th and 115th Congresses.

“Floridians account for more than one-third of all NFIP policies in the country, and for them, it’s critical that flood insurance be affordable and reliable. Florida families should never have to choose between putting food on the table or protecting their homes and livelihoods from an unexpected flood,” said Rep. Crist. “This bill will make much-needed changes to the NFIP that will keep flood insurance affordable, unlock mitigation options so policyholders can better protect their homes, and improve the claims process if – God forbid – disaster does strike.”

 “Superstorm Sandy devastated New Jersey nine years ago, and my constituents still know all too well how important a flood insurance program is after major flooding events. After the storm, insurance companies outright refused to make good on their promises to policyholders and instead pointed to the fine print while denying families who had lost everything. The National Flood Insurance Program must be both affordable and fair – otherwise it just doesn’t work. This bill delivers a long-term flood insurance program reauthorization that improves the program based on the realities of major weather events like Sandy,” said Congressman Pallone. “This legislation will go a long way to strengthen our flood insurance program so that homeowners in my district are protected from the devastating effects of future flooding.”

 Additionally, the NFIP Reauthorization and Reform Act:

  • Establishes a means-tested affordability program for low- and middle-income policyholders to guarantee affordable flood insurance for everyone;
  • Implements monthly payments of premiums, making it easier for policyholders to plan for and manage costs;
  • Provides for continuous operation of the NFIP in the event of a government shutdown to avoid disruptions to the housing market;
  • Raises the Increased Cost of Compliance coverage from $30,000 to $60,000 to provide more resources for policyholders to mitigate their properties;
  • Authorizes $500 million per year for FEMA to modernize its flood maps, including for the use of Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology for more accurate mapping of flood risk;
  • Freezes interest payments on the NFIP’s debt, freeing up approximately $400 million annually to be re-invested in mitigation activities;
  • Reforms the claims process and sets deadlines for FEMA to respond to policyholders;
  • Requires the disclosure of flood risk and prior flood damage to lessors and homebuyers before transfer of the property.
The Senate version of the NFIP Reauthorization and Reform Act will be introduced by Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Booker (D-NJ). 

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