House OKs Flood Legislation Good For Natomas

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 5114, the Flood Insurance Reform Priorities Act of 2010.

The bill includes two provisions sought by Congresswoman Doris Matsui important to flood zone designations and the cost of flood insurance in the Sacramento region.

By 2011, the Sacramento Area Flood Control Agency (SAFCA) and the State of California will have spent upwards of $350 million repairing Natomas’ levees. Current federal policy does not always take into account local and state spending on levee improvements.
Last year, Matsui introduced H.R. 1525, which would fix this problem, and has been included in H.R. 5114.
Under H.R. 5114, after an area is remapped rates would increase 20% a year for five years from the low Preferred Rate Policy plans until they reach full actuarial value, as opposed to jumping to $1,300 overnight. This provision is retroactive to September 2008. If enacted, lower flood insurance rates for Natomas homeowners are within reach.
The Flood Insurance Reform Priorities Act would also reauthorize FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to enter into and renew flood insurance policies through fiscal year 2015. The bill would implement other reforms to ensure the fiscal sustainability of the NFIP.
This legislation allows low-income homeowners to pay flood insurance premiums in installments (as opposed to one lump sum) and raises maximum coverage limits for flood insurance policies. New coverage limits are $335,000 (up from $250,000) for residences; $135,000 (up from $100,000).
The NFIP was last reauthorized in 2004, prior to Hurricane Katrina. Authorization for the NFIP lapsed in 2008, and since then it has been sustained by a series of temporary extensions, which has caused uncertainty in the recovering housing market. The current extension is set to expire at the end of September of this year.
The Flood Insurance Reform Priorities Act of 2010 now goes to the Senate for consideration.

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