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Friday, Aug 22, 2014

FEMA to delay some flood insurance increases


Published:   |   Updated: February 7, 2014 at 06:58 AM

WASHINGTON — Some flood insurance premiums required under a 2012 law now won’t be raised until the fall of 2015 at the earliest.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency says delays passed by Congress last month will put off higher premiums required by new flood maps.

The issue affects hundreds of thousands of homeowners who pay “grandfathered,” below-market rates for insurance because their homes were in compliance with earlier flood codes.

The changes announced Wednesday are required under a 2012 law intended to reform the money-losing federal flood insurance program. But the higher premiums required under the new law have spooked many homeowners living near coastlines or in flood plains, threatening them with, in some cases, multifold increase in their premiums.

FEMA was required to delay starting work on implementing new premium increases on grandfathered properties by a provision written by Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and attached to last month’s omnibus spending bill. Cassidy is running to unseat Landrieu this fall.

Other changes would take place as planned, including higher premiums for frequently flooded properties and businesses and on second homes.

And people getting subsidized premiums still won’t be able to pass them on to people who purchase their homes.

The Senate last week passed broader legislation requiring delays of most premium increases on a big bipartisan vote. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said Thursday that the House would address the issue this year, but he does not support the sweeping delays passed by the Senate.

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