Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, sponsored by Representative Michael Grimm (NY-11). U.S. Representative Tom Marino (PA-10) is one of 237 cosponsors and voted in favor of the legislation, which passed with strong, bipartisan support.
"Millions of Americans are facing dramatically increased flood insurance premiums through no fault of their own, and many low and middle class families are facing foreclosure," Marino said.
"While not perfect, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act offers families and storefront owners considerable and immediate relief by repealing the most problematic provisions of Biggert-Waters that have resulted in these dramatically increased premiums, and enacting an alternative that ensures rates are both reasonable and reflective of actuarial risk."
"I am a cosponsor of this legislation not because it is a silver bullet, but because it is a step in the right direction. This bill is a solution for many policyholders in Pennsylvania's 10th Congressional District," Marino added.
Specifically, H.R. 3370 repeals certain premium rate increases, restores grandfathered rates, and establishes annual rate increases and surcharges to ensure homeowners are paying rates reflective of what was disclosed at the time they purchased their property. It aims to reach market-based rates; however, it also institutes caps so the jump from prior rates and market rates is a slow, gradual one.
Additionally, the bill requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to conduct an affordability study and issue a report within two years of the bill's enactment. The report will look at various factors to determine how property owners can maintain affordability if premiums continue to increase and must offer options for enhanced mitigation assistance and means-tested assistance.
"We -- Congress -- enacted the law that unintentionally resulted in this devastating burden. Now, it is our responsibility to fix it," Marino said.
Marino, who has been leading efforts to repeal the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, hosted multiple townhall meetings for affected constituents in recent months and has maintained open lines of communication with key stakeholders, including county officials, insurance agencies, realtors associations, small business owners, and community leaders.