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Study of Voluntary Community-Based Flood Insurance Options

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. BIGGERT. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I rise today in support of H.R. 6186, introduced by my friend and colleague on the Financial Services Committee, Congresswoman Gwen Moore.

H.R. 6816 would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA, the agency which administers the National Flood Insurance Program, NFIP, to conduct a study on the advantages and disadvantages of providing voluntary community-based flood insurance through NFIP and report its recommendations for implementation to Congress within 18 months. H.R. 6186 also requires the Government Accountability Office, GAO, to analyze FEMA's report and submit its comments or recommendations on it to Congress within 6 months.

Community-based flood insurance is an insurance technique where a risk assessment is made for all the buildings in a community, and then premiums to cover that risk are paid collectively by that community rather than the current practice of assessing each building individually and having each individual owner pay a premium. This innovative tool may represent a new and better way for some communities at risk of flooding to take the necessary steps to protect their citizens.

In fact, FEMA has stated in congressional testimony that voluntary community-based flood insurance could help the NFIP better account for the full cost of flood risk, as well as provide incentives to encourage communities to implement greater flood mitigation measures. Thus, we think it's appropriate to commission this study of the community-based flood insurance concept so that FEMA can understand how it could be put to the greatest benefit.

Congresswoman Moore's community-based flood insurance study provision was originally introduced as part of H.R. 1309, the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011, the bipartisan, long-term NFIP reauthorization measure that passed the House with over 400 votes last summer. During the previous year, Congresswoman Moore's study language was also included as part of long-term NFIP reauthorization efforts that passed the House three additional times as part of other bills.

Unfortunately, Congresswoman Moore's text, which is now H.R. 6186, was not included in the bipartisan Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act that was signed into law on July 6. However, the Financial Services Committee remains committed to enacting this provision, and I want to commend Congresswoman Moore for all her hard work on this measure, and I am a cosponsor.

With that, I would urge my colleagues to support H.R. 6186, and I reserve the balance of my time.


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