Rep. Pascrell Leads Bi-partisan Group Demanding Changes to National Flood Insurance Program

Last week NJ Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-9), together with House colleagues Reps. Garret Graves (R-LA), Charlie Crist (D-FL), David Rouzer (R-NC), Debbie Mucarsel-Powell (D-FL), and Francis Rooney (R-FL) led a letter signed by 64 members of Congress demanding affordable insurance rates in a long-term National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) reauthorization. In the letter addressed to congressional leadership, the members cite a failure to address expected NFIP premium increases under the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) new methodology for assessing risk, which will become effective next year.

“This new methodology, known as Risk Rating 2.0, will no longer use flood maps and zones to determine a homeowner’s premium rate, but rather a series of models that will ‘fundamentally change’ a property’s individual flood risk assessment and therefor their insurance price,” the members wrote. “While FEMA intends Risk Rating 2.0 to provide more accurate and transparent flood insurance pricing, this untested proposal could lead to increased premiums, forcing homeowners to drop coverage, or even worse, lose their home.”

The members continue, “we know the negative consequences of hiking premiums after the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 caused costs to skyrocket, hurting policyholders and a chill was sent through the real-estate market. With Risk Rating 2.0 on the horizon, we encourage you to do everything possible to prevent premium spikes for our constituents. Our constituents cannot suffer from a double-digit rate increase in addition to the fees and surcharges FEMA could impose on policy holders under Risk Rating 2.0.”

This letter is the latest in Rep. Pascrell’s efforts to reform the NFIP by increasing affordability and the overall sustainability of the program. In March, he testified before the House Committee on Financial Services in support of a long-term NFIP reauthorization that is affordable, helps policyholders prior to a storm, updates the claims process, and holds bad actors accountable.

In July, Rep. Frank Pallone (D-6) and Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) joined Pascrell in introducing legislation to build on his testimony that extends the NFIP and institutes sweeping reforms to make it more consumer friendly by overhauling the claims process and affordable by capping premiums at 9 percent.

Every member of New Jersey’s delegation added their name to the letter.