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Keeping Flood Insurance Affordable: FEMA Continuing Work on Affordability Study

BILOXI, Miss.–Keeping flood insurance rates from going sky high on the coast and along the big rivers in Mississippi has to be done in Washington, on the federal level. A lot of what happens in the future with rates depends of FEMA’s affordability study, which the agency is working on now.

FEMA could be finished with the study by the end of the year, or maybe even by fall.

One reason that insurance rates have not gone up to the extremely high levels predicted by some in 2013 is that some people in the government intervened and Congress passed the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA).

The Act keeps rates from going up while reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program are implemented.

“Mississippi homeowners, property owners, businesses and local leaders remain concerned about flood insurance rates and the outcome of the FEMA affordability study.  We all want them to be as fact-based and accurate as possible as one way of ensuring the flood insurance is fair and affordable,” said Sen. Thad Cochran, who serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee which has jurisdiction over FEMA.

This week he met with Jeh Johnson, head of Homeland Security, the agency that is over FEMA.

“I’m interested in two things, and I know that [FEMA] Administrator Fugate agrees — affordability and solvency.  I want to make sure we have a solvent national flood insurance program, and we want to be sure we have one that is affordable to those who need the insurance longer-term,” Johnson told Cochran.  “Senator, I want you to know on behalf of your constituents in Mississippi and others in high-risk areas, this is a top priority of mine to make sure we have a solvent and affordable flood insurance program.”

The FY2016 budget request for FEMA recommends $181.2 million for the National Flood Insurance Fund, which will be used to implement the requirements in HFIAA and the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, said a news release from Cochran’s office.

“In this year’s budget submission, we have a request for new flood mapping to make sure that we get this right to update the districts, updates the areas that are high-risk. And again, I think that that should be done with the purpose of a solvent national flood insurance program and to make sure that it is an affordable one for people in high-risk areas. There’s no point in having flood insurance if nobody can afford it,” said Johnson..


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