After much anticipation, the House voted in favor of passing H.R. 3370, the “Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013” on Tuesday evening. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in a 306-91 vote. The legislation would mitigate the harmful effects of the Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Reform Bill of 2012 through blocking significant increases in premiums.
Other highlights of the bill include:
- Requiring a surcharge of $25 on all flood policies for primary residential properties and $250 for businesses and second homes
- Eliminating the requirement for FEMA to update its maps
- Removing the requirement for policyholders to buy coverage for detached buildings such as sheds and garages
- Allowing policyholders more options to manage and further reduce their premiums through higher deductibles, monthly payments and expanding mitigation options
The Senate passed their version of flood insurance reforms on Jan. 30 in a 67-32 vote. While the House bill would limit rate hikes for homeowners and businesses, the Senate bill would only delay the hikes for four years. Also of note is that, unlike S. 1926, the House bill does not address multi-state producer licensing.With two versions of reform, the House and Senate will either have to negotiate a compromise bill or one of the chambers will have to pass the other’s bill.
The Senate’s bill also addresses multi-state producer licensing through establishing the National Association of Registered Agents and Brokers (NARAB II); however, the House version makes no mention of this important industry issue. Therefore, if the Senate passes the House version, we either have to get the Senate to approve NARAB II as a stand-alone bill (which the House has already done) or add NARAB II to the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act (TRIA). As of now, we have both the House and Senate passing some form of NARAB II legislation, but just in separate vehicles (House as a stand-alone bill and the Senate as part of the flood bill).
We would like to extend our thanks to all those who participated in our grassroots action alert!