Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after FEMA announced that it will indefinitely extend preferred risk flood insurance policies under the National Flood Insurance Program. The change allows Montanans holding existing preferred risk policies to continue paying lower rates while FEMA implements the bipartisan flood insurance reauthorization law that Tester helped pass earlier this summer. Without the change, some Miles City residents would have seen higher flood insurance premiums beginning as early as this year:
"Montana's weather can change by the minute. While places like Miles City are dealing with record drought this summer, last year brought major flooding. The new flood insurance law will increase long-term protections for homeowners and better align risks with premiums, but until it is fully implemented homeowners should be able to extend their current flood insurance policies if they choose to. This is a responsible step forward as we protect Montanans from flood."
Tester, as chairman of the Senate subcommittee that oversees the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), worked for over a year on reforms that "provide certainty in the face of risk.' The bipartisan flood insurance reauthorization will protect Montana families and communities along lakes, rivers and streams, for five years.
According to FEMA, existing preferred risk policies will not be transitioned into full-risk rating after January 1, 2013. Additionally, the preferred risk policy discounted rate will be available to property owners and renters whose buildings are found to be in a Special Flood Hazard Area following map revisions that became effective on or after October 1, 2008.