Today, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen announced her co-sponsorship of legislation that would work to keep flood insurance rates affordable for South Floridians. The measures would:
* Impose four year delay of any rate hikes for most properties while FEMA completes an affordability study;
* Require FEMA to propose an affordability framework;
* Allow policyholders who successfully appeal a map determination to be reimbursed from National Flood Insurance Funds;
* Eliminate the cap on state and local contributions to levee construction and reconstruction;
* Allow the lowest proofed opening in a home to be utilized for determination of flood insurance rates;
* Establish a Flood Insurance Rate Map Advocate within FEMA to answer questions about the flood mapping process;
* Require FEMA to certify the agency has adopted a modernized risk-based approach.
Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
"The National Flood Insurance Program provides help in a vital way to the entire nation. Premiums are at record highs and our community is paying the price. South Florida has already been hit hard by storms, both meteorological and financial. This measure will help ensure our neighbors are not hurt by rate increases in these tough economic times.
"Halting rate increases will ensure that families do not bear the brunt of this bureaucratic storm. We should only move forward with a program when its full effects are known. Our families can't afford to pay for something that is not fully developed."
NOTE: Ros-Lehtinen has actively worked to lower flood insurance rates.
Ros-Lehtinen is an original co-sponsor of H.R. 3370, the bipartisan Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. Under this bill, rate increases would be delayed for approximately 4 years.
Ileana is a co-sponsor of H.R.3218, the Flood Insurance Fairness Act, a bill that would delay the Oct 1 flood insurance premium increases in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Ros-Lehtinen is a co-sponsor of H.R.3312, a bill that will cap premiums over the period of homeownership to being no more than the value of the property.
Ileana is a co-sponsor of H.R.2199, the Flood Insurance Implementation Reform Act, which is a three year delay in implementing an increase in flood insurance rate premiums.
Ros-Lehtinen also signed onto a letter to House leadership opposing flood insurance rate hikes that encourages relief for the millions of homeowners and small businesses susceptible to steep rate increases across the country.
Ileana sent a letter to FEMA asking it to use its authority to keep flood insurance rates affordable.
Ros-Lehtinen also voted to shield flood insurance policyholders from excessive rate increases in this year's FY14 Homeland Security Appropriations Act.