Cassidy calls for delay of flood insurance rate hikes

Rep. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) joined a coalition of legislatures on Thursday calling on President Barack Obama to suspend flood insurance rate increases outlined in the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 until an affordability study is completed.

An affordability study would establish whether individuals could afford higher risk-based flood insurance rates in Biggert-Waters before they are implemented. The findings would be compared to current subsidized and grandfathered rates to establish their effect.

“The Obama Administration must comply with the law, and that includes the Biggert-Waters Act,” Cassidy said. “It’s inappropriate to proceed with flood insurance rate hikes if the affordability study has not been finished. The president must demand that FEMA postpone rate hikes and we will push for that suspension to occur.”

BW12 reformed the National Flood Insurance Program to reduce its dependency on taxpayer funding and address debt. The bill resulted in flood insurance premiums increasing by more than 1,000 percent for some individuals.

Cassidy and 15 other legislators requested BW12 implementation be delayed in a letter sent to President Obama on Thursday.

“FEMA is implementing BW12 in a manner inconsistent with congressional intent,” the letter said. “Congress required FEMA to complete an affordability study and to collect all the necessary data before increasing insurance rates on homeowners. The Government Accountability Office reports that FEMA lacks key data and still has many challenges to resolve before BW12 is fully implemented.”