WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congressmen Clay Higgins (R-LA) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ), alongside U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy (R-LA), John Kennedy (R-LA), and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) introduced the bipartisan and bicameral National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization (NFIP-RE) Act of 2023.
This legislation would reauthorize the program for five years – providing greater stability for homeowners, small business owners, and the real estate market as the nation continues to struggle with inflationary pressures. It will also implement a series of sweeping reforms to reduce costs, invest in flood mitigation, and establish a fairer claims process for policyholders.
“Flood insurance for home and business owners in South Louisiana and across the country is a necessity that has become increasingly unaffordable for hardworking Americans,”said Congressman Higgins. “Millions of homeowners rely on NFIP as the only real option for flood insurance. Reauthorization of NFIP is a necessity, and forcing Congress to address the serious problems of Risk Rating 2.0 is a priority. My office remains focused on passing a long-term reauthorization that protects affordability, improves flood plain mapping, and prioritizes pre-disaster mitigation.”
“New Jerseyans still know all too well how important a flood insurance program is. After Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Ida devastated New Jersey communities, insurance companies have outright refused to make good on their promises to policyholders and used the fine print to deny families who lost everything,”said Congressman Pallone. “For years, I’ve been warning that Risk Rating 2.0 could be used to unfairly target coastal communities while making flood insurance unaffordable for working families, and that’s exactly what I’m hearing from my constituents. FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 is lowering costs for some, but it’s causing thousands of households to drop coverage all together due to rate shocks. The National Flood Insurance Program must be affordable and fair – otherwise it just doesn’t work. This bill will strengthen the program so that homeowners in my district are protected from the devastating effects of flooding.”
“Reforming the NFIP means making it affordable again,”said Dr. Cassidy. “We need to ensure families are not priced out of the program.”
“By making flood insurance unaffordable, the Biden administration’s Risk Rating 2.0 is making it impossible for Louisianians to protect their biggest assets—their homes,” said Senator Kennedy. “We must make sure that the NFIP works for the people who depend on it, and this bill would do that.”
“Congress can no longer afford to punt long-term reauthorization and reform of the NFIP. It’s time to put policyholders first and address the longstanding systemic issues with the program that came under the national spotlight in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy,”said Sen. Menendez. “With disastrous flooding events becoming all the more common, we must work to create a more sustainable, resilient, and affordable flood insurance program that invests in prevention and mitigation efforts, and all while ensure hard-working Americans can have peace of mind in the event of a disaster.”
The NFIP-RE Act of 2023 would:
- Protect policyholders from exorbitant premium hikes by capping annual increases at nine percent.
- Increase the maximum limit for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage to better reflect the costs of rebuilding and implementing mitigation projects.
- Boosts funding for mitigation grants and modernizes mapping to identify and reduce flood risks.
- Create new oversight measures for insurance companies and vendors, and provides FEMA with greater authority to terminate contractors that have a track record of abuse.
- Reform the claims process to level the playing field for policyholders during appeal or litigation, hold FEMA accountable to strict deadlines so that homeowners get quick and fair payments, and ban aggressive legal tactics preventing homeowners from filing legitimate claims.
For the full text of the legislation, click here.