Flood zone residents can rest easy for now ‑ as impending increases in flood insurance have been put on the backburner.
Congressmembers Gregory Meeks and Hakeem Jeffries co-sponsored the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Care Act of 2013, legislation meant to address the flood insurance rate increase and “keep residents from being priced out of our community,” Meeks said.
In July 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which would require the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to raise flood rates to reflect “true flood risk” for a policyholder, according to FEMA.
As a result of the act, residents said that over time, their rates could get as high as $30,000 a year. Rallies protesting the price hikes were held nationwide in September, including one at the Broad Channel American Legion Hall, which brought in hundreds of residents.
“We’d like to think we played a small role,” said Dan Mundy, Jr., president of the Broad Channel Civic Association. “It’s a really important first step. We hope to maybe have some input on this.”
The insurance affordability act imposes a four-year delay for certain primary residences. It also mandates FEMA complete an affordability study, which will take two years.
The new bill also allows FEMA to reimburse policyholders who successfully appeal a map determination.
Meeks and Jeffries worked with over 80 other members of Congress to pass the act and “fix” the NFIP, he said.
He vows to work with colleagues “across the aisle” to ensure the bill is signed into law and successfully implemented.
“The painful devastation we experienced during Sandy brought us together to get this done, but it was the resilience and commitment to rebuilt from the people of Rockaway that served as inspiration to make it happen,” Meeks said.