Effort to Rein in Federal Flood Insurance Program Causing Alarm

As a 2012 law aimed reforming the "increasingly unsustainable" National Flood Insurance Program goes into effect, some homeowners in coastal areas are seeing dramatic increases in their insurance rates. Lawmakers are pondering how to ease the pain.
October 16, 2013, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"Sharp increases in federal flood insurance rates are distressing coastal homeowners from Hawaii to New England and are starting to hurt property values and housing sales in areas just beginning to recover from the recession, according to residents and legislators," report Lizette Alvarez and Campbell Robertson. 

On October 1st, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act began to remove the subsidies that held down flood insurance rates for more than a million homeowners across the U.S.

“'The homeowners and business owners simply cannot withstand these gargantuan hikes,' said Senator Bill Nelson, a Florida Democrat and member of the bipartisan group of lawmakers pushing a bill to delay the increase. 'There is a lot of panic about this.'”

"Still, in recent years, costly flooding disasters, including Hurricane Sandy, have left the [National Flood Insurance Program] $25 billion in debt, a situation that will most likely worsen because of climate change and coastal overdevelopment," add Alvarez and Robertson. "And almost everyone involved agrees that the issue is not whether to change the program, but how to soften the impact on those hit hardest by the cost increases."

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Published on Saturday, October 12, 2013 in The New York Times
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