U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) on Thursday called for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to offer lawmakers its recommendations for reforming the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which needs to be reauthorized this year. In a letter to FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, the Senators requested FEMA provide these recommendations as quickly as possible.
"As we work to make improvements to the NFIP, FEMA should outline how residents in flood plains are being affected and ways to lower the cost of flood insurance," said Wicker. "Families throughout Mississippi continue to struggle with the escalating price of flood insurance, trapping homeowners who cannot afford the higher premiums."
"I believe an effective renewal of the flood insurance program will depend on a good amount of cooperation between FEMA and Congress, and I appreciate FEMA's willingness to work with us over the past year," Cochran said. "Many Mississippians, like millions of people across the nation, will be best served if Congress can pass a full reauthorization of NFIP with proper reforms. The Congress, along with FEMA, should strive for a program that both allows for robust input from local communities while also taking responsible steps to move the NFIP out of debt."
Wicker and Cochran were joined by Senators Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) in the letter to Fugate. The four have joined together to continue to seek out bipartisan, responsible and cost-effective solutions to the challenges facing communities that must rely on flood insurance.
Text of the letter follows:
April 14, 2011
The Honorable William Craig Fugate
Federal Emergency Management Agency
500 C Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20472-0001
Dear Administrator Fugate,
As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) evaluates reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), we ask that you expeditiously provide policy recommendations to Congress so that we may have ample time to debate and consider your recommendations. The NFIP is authorized to run through September 30, 2011. We are very interested to review your Agency's recommendations as we consider creating a comprehensive NFIP reauthorization proposal.
We believe that insurance costs need to be affordable for homeowners while maintaining that premiums should reflect the risks associated with floods. Additionally, we believe that areas newly mapped into flood hazard areas should be given a reasonable chance to mitigate against the new hazard when real mitigation is achievable. Finally, if flood insurance is priced according to risk, sufficient mitigation activities should be considered in premium adjustments.
With best wishes, we are
Roger F. Wicker Richard J. Durbin
Thad Cochran Mark L. Pryor