In a 306-91 vote, the U.S. House passed its amendment to H.R. 3370, “The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.”
The Grimm-Waters bipartisan bill limits premium increases to 18 percent per policy or 15 percent of an average of premiums in a particular flood zone, according to Bloomberg. Changes to the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 are an effort to help with the “sticker shock” some consumers are facing as a result of two provisions that create drastic premium increases in many parts of the country.
The Senate passed its version of the legislation, S. 1926, on Jan. 30 in a 67-32 vote.
Industry associations, including the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) welcomed the House vote. "We appreciate that the House amendment to H.R. 3370 will address some of the unintended consequences’ impacting flood insurance policyholders following the enactment of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012,” said Nat Wienecke, SVP, federal government relations for PCI. “We thank Congress for working with the industry to address the technical and timing realities of implementing any programmatic changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) ensuring a thoughtful and transparent implementation process for policyholders and other stakeholders. PCI strongly supports a financially sound NFIP and moving the NFIP toward sound financial footing, protecting policyholders and taxpayers, and setting flood insurance rates on a path to encourage the gradual expansion of a private market for flood insurance.”
The Big “I” also applauded the vote, saying the bill would repeal the entirety of Section 207 of Biggert-Waters and would therefore reinstate the “grandfathering” of policies located in communities with a new or redrawn map. H.R. 3370 would also stop the elimination of subsidies for pre-FIRM properties that are bought and sold, which is an extremely problematic provision in Section 205 of Biggert-Waters.
“This represents a major win for independent insurance agents, as Section 207 and the bought/sold provision of Section 205 were the two specific items that the Big I’ has been working on with Congress to find a solution,” said Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president for external and government affairs. “The Big I’ hopes that the Senate and House will quickly resolve the differences between their two version of flood insurance reform in order to provide meaningful relief to consumers harmed by the drastic price increases associated with Biggert-Waters.”
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