WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) joined Sens. Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and six others in introducing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Reauthorization and Reform Act to reauthorize the NFIP for five years and reform the program to cut waste, abuse and mismanagement. The legislation would improve the accountability, affordability and sustainability of the NFIP and place guardrails on the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) new Risk Rating 2.0 system, which drastically hikes Americans’ flood insurance premiums.
“Roughly half-a-million Louisianians depend on flood insurance to safeguard their homes and businesses. The National Flood Insurance Program protects workers and families who need to take care of their biggest investments—their homes. We have to extend this program and protect it from political games,” said Kennedy.
“We need to reform the NFIP to ensure it is affordable and accessible for the homeowner, accountable to the taxpayer, and sustainable for the future. This bill is full of real solutions to achieve these goals,” said Dr. Cassidy.
The bill emphasizes prevention and mitigation efforts and addresses issues with FEMA’s management of the NFIP, including low participation rates, inaccurate flood maps, indifference to the benefits of flood control infrastructure, unsustainable debt service costs and contractor profiteering.
FEMA implemented Risk Rating 2.0, its new NFIP rating system, last month. Risk Rating 2.0 hikes rates on insurance premiums, forcing homeowners to drop coverage or lose their homes. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects that 900,000 policyholders (who make up nearly 20 percent of the program) will drop NFIP coverage as a result of Risk Rating 2.0. The NFIP Reauthorization and Reform Act will put guardrails on Risk Rating 2.0 to safeguard policyholders from sudden rate shocks.