Brad Thaler, the vice president of legislative affairs at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, urged Senate leaders last week to delay premium increases for the National Flood Insurance Program until an impact study has been completed.
Under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Act, some premiums under the NFIP will increase this year, primarily for individuals whose policies are subsidized—approximately 20 percent of policyholders.
Properties in “special flood hazard areas” will be most affected, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency estimates that a 25 percent annual premium increase will affect five percent of subsidized policies immediately.
“Failure to act in this regard could mean that premiums will skyrocket for many Americans struggling in these uncertain times,” Thaler said. “Furthermore, various local housing markets could face drastic negative impacts. New premiums could be unaffordable to many, dropping home values in a tenuous economy. We are already hearing reports from our member credit unions that these impacts are beginning to materialize, so any action in this matter must be timely.”
A bipartisan group of 24 senators expressed their support for a delay last week. Lawmakers from several regions affected by Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina have also urged a delay in the premium increases.