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Graves and Pascrell Lead Bipartisan Effort to Stop Unaffordable, Flawed Flood Insurance Rate Hikes

September 16, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Congressmen Garret Graves and Bill Pascrell have been joined by dozens of members of Congress in an effort to block efforts by FEMA to implement substantial flood insurance rate hikes for millions of Americans. The new insurance premium calculation methodology, Risk Rating 2.0, is slated to begin on October 1, 2021 (new home purchases), with a second phase going into effect in April of next year (existing homes/policies). 

Graves, Pascrell and others are urging Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy to include the groups’ amendment to put a moratorium on the implementation of the flood rate hikes. 

Massive rate changes should be subject to additional scrutiny and review by Members of Congress in a long-term reauthorization, not arbitrary FEMA deadlines. A delay in implementing Risk Rating 2.0 is needed to allow Congress time to work on a comprehensive long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.

“While we appreciate FEMA’s work to create a NFIP that establishes actuarily sound rates, we are concerned about the burden of potential double digit rate hikes on our constituents by FEMA’s untested pricing methodology,” the Members wrote. “Therefore, we ask you to include language delaying the unfair implementation of Risk Rating 2.0 in any piece of legislation going to the floor this month until a more robust methodology that includes a lower premium cap is in place for policy holders.”

The Members continued, “[t]ime is of the essence with FEMA’s pending deadline to implement Risk Rating 2.0. We cannot accept another short-term extension of the NFIP without addressing these expected rate hikes for our constituents.”

Earlier this week, Graves and Whip Steve Scalise asked FEMA to delay the implementation of the new NFIP rate-setting program.

On May 11, 2021, Graves previously asked for the delay.

To read the letter to Pelosi and McCarthy, click here or read below.

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Minority Leader McCarthy,

We write because our constituents are in desperate need of relief from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) rate hikes expected under Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Risk Rating 2.0. While we appreciate FEMA’s work to create a NFIP that establishes actuarily sound rates, we are concerned about the burden of potential double digit rate hikes on our constituents by FEMA’s untested pricing methodology. Therefore, we ask you to include language delaying the unfair implementation of Risk Rating 2.0 in any piece of legislation going to the floor this month until a more robust methodology that includes a lower premium cap is in place for policy holders.

While Congress continues to debate needed affordability, fairness, and sustainable reforms to the NFIP, FEMA plans to unilaterally implement Risk Rating 2.0 in a phased approach beginning on October 1, 2021. FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 implementation announcement earlier this year has already impacted communities we represent that are still dealing with the far-reaching economic impacts of COVID-19 and recovering from the devastation of Hurricanes Ida and Henri.

There are serious implementation questions surrounding Risk Rating 2.0. Our constituents and those involved in implementing FEMAs rate hikes need more time to get the answers they deserve. The additional burden of up to double digit rate hikes by FEMA for our constituents, especially those in low- and moderate-income communities is too much for them to bear. Massive rate changes should be subject to additional scrutiny and review by Members of Congress in a long-term reauthorization, not arbitrary FEMA deadlines. A delay in implementing Risk Rating 2.0 is needed to allow Congress time to work on a comprehensive long-term reauthorization of the NFIP.

FEMA has already previewed that nearly 80 percent of policy holders in the eight states (approximately 1,385,759 in Florida, 661,830 in Texas, 394,757 in Louisiana, 170,685 in New Jersey, 155,349 in South Carolina, 157,316 in California, 117,093 in New York, and 104,145 in North Carolina) that account for the largest share of NFIP policies should expect to pay a higher premium under Risk Rating 2.0. This increase is due to FEMA’s new methodology as well as the existing statutory limits on rate increases.

We appreciate the hard work Chair Maxine Waters and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry have put into developing a long-term NFIP reauthorization, including efforts to recognize the pending rate hikes. Time is of the essence with FEMA’s pending deadline to implement Risk Rating 2.0. We cannot accept another short-term extension of the NFIP without addressing these expected rate hikes for our constituents. We are eager to work together to implement reforms to the NFIP based on the realities experienced in the aftermath of major flooding and storms our constituents have just experienced. Thank you very much for your time and attention to our request.

 

 

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