The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, or H.R. 3370, passed the United States Senate by a vote of 72-22 allowing newly adjusted flood insurance rates to be suppressed from increasing so quickly.
The Bigger Waters Act was making headway in the coastal community just five months ago. It stems from FEMA and would involve changing flood plains nationwide. Hikes in insurance premiums would skyrocket and those currently not living in flood areas could be affected. Now, a resolution has been developed to slow down the process, and all for good reason.
In November, FOX10 News talked with dentist Dr. Glenn Porter about his father-in-law’s home on Dog River. He said his worry about The Bigger Waters Act effects those living on the coast.
“I’m just worried about the increase in insurance rates,” said Dr. Porter.
Now, a sigh of relief for the time being.
The Homeowners Flood Insurance Act will slow those rates down.
“The increases are still going to be coming, they’re going to be little further down the road,” said Dr. Porter.
“There will be rate increases but they just won’t be at the same hike,” said Alabama District 1 Congressman Bradley Byrne.
Congressman Byrne said the Bigger Waters Act was passed in 2012 and was created to help take care of a $24 billion deficit.
“Putting that into effect over the last 12 months, we’ve seen a lot of problems with it so this law is a modification to the Bigger Waters law to protect homeowners in the affected areas and the massive rate increases,” said Byrne.
Dr. Porter says his in-laws are still concerned.
“They are very worried that they are still not going to be able to sell their home or be able to afford the premiums when they go up 18%,” said Dr. Porter.
However, not only is an increase in premiums on the horizon, the price is different depending on where you live. Dr. Porter says his in-laws pay $800 per year, while he pays $1000 down the river. Even though he’s on a hill and never been flooded, he is categorized in the same floodplain as his neighbors who live directly across the river from him. He says that needs to change.
“I don’t think that’s really fair that all of my neighbors were on a hill, we’ve never been flooded and we’re paying more than other people that have been flooded. I think there should be a better assessment of previous flood damage and the risk involved. If my house is been there for an hundred years and never been flooded, why am I paying more premiums then people who’ve been flooded several times,” said Dr. Porter.
Congressman Byrne said the extras time this federal resolution provides will allow for adjustment.
“By giving us more time to transition, we can get to the concerns that a lot of people had about the inaccuracy about out of the size going into determining where you would be placed in a flood map or flood zone at all. So, that is equally important to making sure that we have some sort of control the rate increases,” said Byrne.
There is no exact time frame on when the bill will be passed into law. It is now on desk of President Obama waiting to be signed.