The North Bend Eagle


Flood insurance relief in sight

by Nathan Arneal
Published 3/12/14

Perhaps the North Bend housing market as we know it isn’t doomed after all.

Both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have taken up measures to prevent flood insurance rates from skyrocketing in high-risk flood areas such as North Bend and much of the Platte Valley. Covered in detail in the Dec. 25, 2013, North Bend Eagle, the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 was set to increase area flood insurance premiums by as much as 600 percent.

As those rate increases began to take effect in late 2013, pressure began to mount on Congress to act.

On March 4, the House passed H.R. 3370, which would limit rate increases to 18 percent for individuals, and 15 percent for the average rate in a particular flood zone. The House bill would also provide refunds to people who saw large rate increases triggered by the sale or purchase of a home.

The Senate passed its version of flood insurance reform, S. 1926, in January. S. 1926 would delay the Biggert-Waters premium increases for four years while FEMA completes an affordability study.

Either one congressional body will have to accept and pass the other’s version of the bill, or the Senate bill and the House bill will have to be reconciled before a unified bill is sent to the president to be signed into law. Several senators have expressed support for the House bill.

The original Biggert-Waters bill sought to address the financial problems of the National Flood Insurance Program, which remains $24 billion in the red.

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