Congressman Jack Kingston (R-GA) today slammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency's handling of reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
"With no private options available, homeowners in need of flood insurance have no choice but to use the NFIP," said Kingston. "It is unacceptable for FEMA to implement rate changes without conducting an affordability study as required by law. By acting without fully understanding the results, FEMA threatens to drastically disrupt the lives of hardworking Americans."
Kingston also criticized FEMA for causing uncertainty by allowing inaccurate flood insurance premiums to be published for 15 months after enactment of the reforms. As a result, many homeowners were surprised with massive rate increase just months after purchasing their home.
"We are working on legislation that would extend relief to those who did not receive accurate rates when purchasing their homes," Kingston said.
The federal government has provided flood insurance since 1968 and is currently the only provider of insurance coverage for flood damage in the United States. The program became insolvent in 2005 after Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma struck the U.S. Gulf Coast and caused unprecedented property damage.
Today the program is in debt more than $28 billion.
"It is clear that FEMA has mishandled the implementation of much-needed reforms for this program," said Kingston. "I remain committed to advancing reforms that ensure homeowners have access to affordable coverage without exposing taxpayers to additional risk."
Today's remarks were not Kingston's first to criticize the agency's handling of the law. In November, he delivered a statement to the House Financial Services Committee saying the agency had "seriously neglected its responsibility."