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President signs NFIP bill, but is that the end of the debate? p2

Mon Mar 31st, 2014 on     Insurance Law,    

Over our last few posts, we have reviewed some of the higher-profile provisions of the Mendendez-Grimm Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013 that President Barack Obama signed into law on March 21, 2014. In a flurry of activity after the flood insurance premium hikes calculated under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 stunned policyholders in the last quarter of 2013, Congress was able to cobble together a law that reversed many of the provisions of Biggert-Waters.

Florida’s senators and representatives did not often take center stage during negotiations over grandfathering, affordability studies and other provisions. The impact of the new law on Florida homeowners, however, should be noticeable. Homeowners in flood-prone coastal areas, for example, will be reimbursed if they successfully appeal new flood map determinations.

One of the final provisions of the new law that we wanted to go through here is the creation of a Flood Insurance Advocate within the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The idea is not to add another layer of bureaucracy for policyholders to navigate. The advocate’s office will handle questions from current policyholders and prospective policyholders as well. It is also the responsibility of the advocate to educate policyholders about individual flood risks, the kinds of coverage available to them and the appeal process. The advocate will also serve as a liaison to officials in federal, state and local governments as well as community leaders.

Menendez-Grimm is a big law. Some provisions will go into effect quickly, others will take time to roll out. The hope is that this will settle both the reform questions and Congress’ annual debate over renewing the program. If Menendez-Grimm does not work, though, we may be writing about a bill to reform the reform bill’s reforms at some point in 2014.

Source: Carrier Management, “Senate OKs Bill to Curb Flood Insurance Hikes,” Andrew Simpson, March 14, 2014

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