Legislation may slow Biggert-Waters start

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 28, 2013

By Kimberly Hopson

HAHNVILLE – On Tuesday, Florida Sen. Bill Nelson filed an amendment to a joint Continuing Resolution making its way through the Senate that would prohibit the use of government funds to implement certain sections of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.
Sections 100205 and 100207 are the main culprits behind huge hikes in flood insurance on the West Bank of St. Charles Parish projected by FEMA, based on a previously proposed flood insurance rate map. Section 100205 reforms the flood insurance premium rate structure to exclude certain properties from receiving subsidized premium rates. These properties include non-primary residences— i.e., camps and rental properties, business properties, properties with substantial improvements exceeding 30 percent of the fair market value and any property purchased after Biggert-Waters was enacted in July 2012.
The amendment number is 1966, made to HJRes59.
Section 100207 allows the National Flood Insurance Program to adjust premiums to reflect “current risk of flood” upon the effective date of any revised or updated flood insurance rate map. This means that structures remapped into a higher risk flood zone will pay premiums based on the new flood zone even though they were built to code at the time of construction.
“We wholeheartedly support Sen. Nelson’s amendment in addition to the other legislative measures passed and attempted by the members of the Louisiana delegation. This would be a much needed delay to allow us to work on a fairer solution to the National Flood Insurance Program and prevent catastrophic rate increases from happening on Oct. 1, 2013, and January 2014,” said Buddy Boe, chief administrative officer for St. Charles Parish.
“We believe FEMA needs to complete the congressionally mandated affordability study and delay all rate increases, subsidy eliminations, and grandfathering eliminations until a thorough review has been done of the affordability of the proposed rates. The rates recently released by FEMA are unrealistic and completely out of the financial grasp of most Americans.”
The full text of Biggert-Waters is available at www.scpfloodmaps.com.
St. Charles Parish continues to urge all residents and other interested parties, especially those in other states, to contact their senators to urge passage of Nelson’s amendment. Contact information for St. Charles Parish residents can be found at www.scpfloodmaps.com.
For more information on FEMA flood maps and the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, visit www.scpfloodmaps.com. For more information on levee plans in St. Charles Parish, residents may view the 10-part ‘Focus on Levees’ video series at www.scplevees.com. For more information on parish activities, visit www.stcharlesparish-la.gov, www.facebook.com/stcharlesgov or www.twitter.com/stcharlesgov.