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HOMEOWNER FLOOD INSURANCE AFFORDABILITY ACT (HFIAA) SIGNED INTO LAW

In an effort to keep you informed about legal actions that affect your business, we are sharing the following Congressional Notice regarding the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.

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On March 21, 2014, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 was signed into law. This law repeals and amends certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.

Today, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is providing a bulletin to its private sector, Write Your Own insurance company partners on steps that are underway to begin implementation of the new legislation and provide relief to qualifying policyholders who received rate increases under Biggert-Waters.This action begins to implement the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) first priority to stop policy increases for certain subsidized policyholders as outlined in the Act.

Specifically, the bulletin provides guidance to Write Your Own insurance companies on how to adjust rates for certain Pre-Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) properties as described by Section three (3) of the Act. Pre-FIRM properties are properties that typically were built before detailed flood maps were developed with a community. Prior to implementation of Biggert-Waters, Pre-FIRM properties were insured using subsidized rates that assist people in affording flood insurance even though their buildings were not built to present standards.

Effective May 1, 2014, the NFIP Direct Servicing Agent and Write Your Own companies will begin to adjust rates for all new applications for Pre-FIRM properties by using the rate tables issued effective October 1, 2013. Policyholders who meet the following requirements will see their rates restored to Pre-FIRM subsidized rates, unless the full-risk rate is more favorable, when they purchase or renew their policy:

  • Pre-FIRM properties that were not insured on July 6, 2012 (the date when Biggert Waters was enacted);
  • Pre-FIRM properties that were sold on or after July 6, 2012 (the date when Biggert Waters was enacted); and
  • Pre-FIRM properties that were rated full-risk under Biggert Waters due to a lapse in policy coverage.

The use of the October 2013 rate tables are an interim step while FEMA develops new rate tables and guidance to process and issue refunds for policyholders who were charged full-risk premiums under Biggert Waters and are now eligible for Pre-FIRM subsidies.

FEMA looks forward to working with Congress, the private Write Your Own insurance companies, and other stakeholders to implement these Congressionally mandated reforms and to working toward our shared goals of helping families maintain affordable flood insurance, ensuring the financial stability of the NFIP, and reducing the risks and consequences of flooding nationwide.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.

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