Published On: Fri, Mar 7th, 2014

Rahall Report

Flood insurance relief for WV homeowners

U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-WV) late Tuesday voted for legislation to provide relief from rate spikes for West Virginia flood insurance policy holders.

“It’s not the full relief that I have been pressing for, but the bill I voted for tonight begins to address some of the most problematic parts of the new flood insurance law – slowing the increase in premium rates and giving communities more of a say in FEMA’s revisions of its flood maps. With the passage of this measure, the House can now begin to negotiate a final bill with the Senate and I will push hard for the maximum relief for all affected policy holders in our State,” said Rahall.

The bill passed by the House, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, would slow the rise in flood insurance premium rates required by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. Although the bill does not completely halt the rise in rates, as Rahall has proposed, it does include many favorable provisions that would allow previously subsidized premium rates to continue for current and new policy holders and empower affected communities to challenge faulty assumptions by FEMA during the remapping process.

“The new flood insurance law has created a tremendous financial burden on many West Virginians, and I continue to bring our region’s concerns about mapping inaccuracies to the attention of FEMA officials. I am pressing FEMA to employ its current authorities to ensure fairness in insurance premiums and protect homeowners from unreasonable rate increases, as well as to establish an appeals process for communities in disagreement with FEMA’s flood maps,” said Rahall.

The House passed the bill by a vote of 306 – 91 and it now must be considered by the Senate.