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White House Proposes Changes To Flood Insurance

Posted on October 24, 2017

Proposed changes to the National Flood Insurance Program has several Louisiana lawmakers and interest groups concerned. In the Trump administration’s request for emergency hurricane relief money, the White House asked that the NFIP halt issuing new policies to cover new businesses or homes in any flood zone. This request comes along with several other changes to the federal program that could significantly impact coastal areas.

Proposed Changes to Flood Insurance

photo by Wikimedia Commons

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney stated that the NFIP is not financially stable enough in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, where he outlined several changes to the program. Other changes include:

  • Maintaining subsidized rates for low-income homeowners but accelerate premium increases for those who can afford to pay risk-based rates.
  • Giving more authority to the government to cancel policies on properties that have flooded more than once.
  • Making it easier for private insurance companies to offer flood insurance policies to homeowners.

The changes could lead to much higher rates for Louisiana homeowners and could lead to some people to be kicked off the program altogether.

On the plus side, the Trump administration also proposes forgiving $16 billion in NFIP debt in order to help pay for all the claims made after hurricanes Irma, Harvey, and Maria.

Concerns

Restricting flood insurance from new home and business owners in flood zones could significantly halt the development in those zones. Not allowing new homeowners to get flood insurance could also make it impossible for them to get a mortgage.

Caitlin Berni, vice president of policy and communications for Greater New Orleans Inc., stated that excluding newly constructed buildings in flood zones is her biggest concern. The regional economic development group focuses soling on flood issues and said that significant areas of the southern state fall into these flood zones.

Other concerns include raised flood insurance premiums which would almost certainly lower the value of the home.