US Senate Passes Flood Insurance Bill
On January 30, 2014, the United States Senate voted 67-32 to approve the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (S. 1926), sponsored by Senators Menendez (D-NJ) and Isakson (R-GA).
This bipartisan legislation calls for a 4-year timeout on rate increases triggered either by a property's sale or a flood map update for a property with previously grandfathered rates. The National Association of Realtors provided Congress with expert testimony suggesting that many of these increases are excessive and inaccurate. The bill also creates a flood insurance advocate within the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) to investigate home owner complaints of multiple different or excessive rate quotes.
The Senate vote sends the measure to the House of Representatives, where Reps. Grimm (R-NY) and Waters (D-CA) have already built an impressive list of 181 co-sponsors in favor of the bill; a total that is 30 votes shy of a House majority.
The "companion bill" to S.1926 in the House is H.R. 3370, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2013.