The Battle of Biggert-Waters rages on. The state of Florida is fighting on a number of fronts to halt or to mitigate the premium increases that homeowners are facing under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act. So far, homeowners have not gained much ground.
In Congress, a Senate proposal to delay the rate hikes until the affordability study mandated by the act is completed seems to have stalled. An effort to skirt committee action failed, so the bill remains in the Senate Banking Committee, which is not likely to give it much thought until after New Year's.
The House is considering its own bill that would postpone the rate increases for as long as 15 months. While proponents hoped that this bill would be passed last week -- in time for a Senate vote this week -- that apparently did not happen. According to Congress.gov, the bill was referred to the House Committee on Financial Services on Dec. 11.
Florida's state lawmakers are also working on bills that would soften the Biggert-Waters blow. One proposal, for example, attempts to streamline the process for insurers to enter the Florida market. More competition for policyholders would force (or just encourage) insurers to lower their premiums. Another idea is to allow insurers to write policies that only cover certain parts of a policyholder's property; say, the house would be covered, but the garage would not be.
Legislators are also considering ways to expand risk pools. We will discuss that and other formal and informal proposals in our next post.
Source: The Ledger, "Legislation in Pipeline To Offset National Flood Insurance Hike," Jim Turner, Dec. 13, 2013