Rice proposes bill to help flood victims

U.S. Rep. Tom Rice (R-SC) on March 24 introduced a bipartisan bill that would increase coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program for costs of compliance, which is one of many available resources flood insurance policyholders can use to rebuild following a flood.

Rep. Rice sponsored the Increased Cost of Compliance Modernization Act of 2022, H.R. 7221, with original cosponsor U.S. Rep. Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX), to raise the Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage limit from $30,000 up to $100,000.

“All eight counties in the 7th District are part of a big floodplain,” Rep. Rice said. “Flooding has had a devastating impact on our community over the past 10 years and this legislation will help cover the cost of mitigation measures to reduce flood risks.”

The congressman noted that since the ICC coverage limit was last raised more than two decades ago, repair costs have risen sharply. “This increase in coverage will help provide relief to homeowners, especially those who do not want to leave their waterfront property,” he said. 

If enacted, H.R. 7221 would increase the cap on the FEMA ICC regulatory coverage limit to $50,000 with an additional coverage option that would cover up to $100,000, according to a bill summary provided by Rep. Rice’s staff, expand eligible use of ICC funds to allow ICC to be used as a non-federal match for Flood Mitigation Assistance, Pre-Disaster Mitigation, and Hazard Mitigation Grant Programs, and offset costs associated with increased payouts by removing the cap on ICC premiums.

“Flooding is not just a coastal problem; our changing climate, increased urbanization, and aging infrastructure have only made this issue more severe,” said Rep. Gonzalez. “I am proud to join my colleague, Congressman Tom Rice, in introducing legislation to improve homeowners’ access to the resources they need to recover from devastating floods.”

H.R. 7221, which is supported by the National Association of Realtors and the Association of State Floodplain Managers Inc., has been referred for consideration to the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.