WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) and Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and U.S. Representatives Clay Higgins (R-LA-03) and Frank Pallone (D-NJ-06) recently introduced the bipartisan and bicameral National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization (NFIP-RE) Act of 2023. This legislation would reauthorize the program for five years – providing greater stability for homeowners, small business owners, and the real estate market as the nation continues to struggle with inflationary pressures. It will also implement a series of sweeping reforms to reduce costs, make generational investments in communities to reduce flood risk, and establish a fairer claims process for policyholders.
“Reforming the NFIP means making it affordable again,” said Dr. Cassidy. “We need to ensure families are not priced out of the program.”
Here’s what people are saying:
New Orleans Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Sandra Lindquist: “Homeowners in the New Orleans area have seen their flood insurance rates double and even triple in the past few years, with more rate hikes to come. We need bold action by Congress to stop this, and Senator Cassidy’s legislation is a great start. Together, we can keep New Orleans affordable for our families and businesses.”
Baton Rouge Area Chamber President and CEO Adam Knapp: “The Great Flood of 2016 and other weather events demonstrate the need for affordable flood insurance in Louisiana’s Capital Region. Senator Cassidy’s legislation recognizes that, and takes steps to boost participation, correct flood maps, incentivize mitigation, and protect homeowners against Risk Rating 2.0. We appreciate his thoughtful leadership on this issue.”
Home Builders Association of Greater Baton Rouge President and CEO Karen Zito: “Home builders in the Capital Region won’t be able to build and sell homes if people can’t buy them. So we need flood insurance policies that are transparent, accountable, and most importantly, affordable. We appreciate Senator Bill Cassidy working to reform the National Flood Insurance Programs, so all this is possible.”
Greater New Orleans, Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht: “This legislation will benefit both policyholders, and the program itself, at many levels, including, but not limited to: forbearing NFIP interest payments, reinvesting up to $620 million of annual savings into flood mitigation, and authorizing a means-tested affordability program. The Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance (CSFI) appreciates Senators Cassidy and Menendez’s continued championship of NFIP and commends all Members of Congress who are responding to their constituents need for accessible, affordable, and transparent flood insurance.”
Restore and Retreat Executive Director and State Representative Joseph Orgeron: “Following the unprecedented storms of Laura and Ida, our commercial & residential insurance markets have been thrown into chaos and those who are required to carry national flood insurance have seen premium prices explode under ‘isk Rating 2.0.’ It is important that we work with our federal congressional delegation to get more transparent accounting & understanding of how the premiums are calculated. Lastly, those residents who live behind hurricane protection levee systems that have proven themselves should be provided with a properly calculated premium that takes that into account.”
Lafourche Parish President Hon. Archie Chaisson, III: “I’m proud to stand with Senator Cassidy and others as they reintroduce legislation to reauthorize the NFIP program and reform Risk Rating 2.0. We know all too well the impacts flooding can cause here in South Louisiana, and having a system that works in concert with our levee and other hurricane protection systems is critical to our long term economic and cultural survival.”
St. Tammany Corporation CEO Chris Masingill: “As the economic development organizations for St. Tammany, our goal of supporting our existing businesses and attracting new businesses is significantly impacted by the affordability of flood insurance. When we make rates are affordable, sustainable, equitable, and reflective of actual flood risk in our communities, we eliminate barriers to attracting and keeping quality jobs for our residents right here in St. Tammany. We appreciate Senator Cassidy’s understanding of this challenge and his advocacy for our neighbors on the Northshore and across the state.”
Terrebonne Levee and Conservation District President Tony Alford: “People in Terrebonne Parish can not accept the crushing flood insurance hikes caused by Risk Rating 2.0. Our residents staff America’s ports, oil rigs and fishing boats, and they deserve flood insurance policies that are affordable. Senator Cassidy’s legislation helps us get there. We appreciate his work.”
Northshore Home Builders Association Executive Officer Amy Ybarzabal: “Senator Cassidy’s bill to reform the National Flood Insurance Program is enormously helpful for homeowners on the Northshore. Capping rate increases will make it easier for homeowners to stay in their homes and care for their families. It’s a bill that needs to be approved by Congress now.”
National Association of Counties Executive Director Matthew Chase: “The bipartisan National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act would provide much-needed, long-term certainty and key reforms that would benefit counties and our residents. Reauthorizing the program for five years would ensure continuous operation and greater stability for policyholders. Additionally, we appreciate the caps placed on annual premium increases, affordability provisions for low- and middle-income policyholders, and increased investments in flood mitigation. The bill would also increase transparency on FEMA’s new risk rating system, known as Risk Rating 2.0, and freeze interest payments on the NFIP debt, helping to make the program solvent. Counties thank Senators Menendez and Cassidy for their leadership, and we look forward to working with our bipartisan congressional partners to secure passage of this legislation.”
Cassidy has long been a leader in the fight to increase flood protections for Louisiana residents and Americans all across the country. Last month, Cassidy participated in a roundtable hosted by Greater New Orleans (GNO), Inc. and the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance on addressing Risk Rating 2.0 and making flood insurance affordable.
Earlier this year, Cassidy delivered a speech on the U.S. Senate floor demanding the Biden administration halt massive hikes to National Flood Insurance Program premiums caused by Risk Rating 2.0. He continues to call out President Biden – who can stop the implementation of Risk Rating 2.0 with the stroke of his pen.
In February 2022, FEMA publicly acknowledged an internal study finding that the implementation of Risk Rating 2.0 to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) could cause 20% of policyholders to drop out of the program due to skyrocketing premiums. Learn more here.