Reform The National Flood Insurance Program Now

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand announced her support for the bipartisan and bicameral National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization (NFIP-RE) Act of 2023. This legislation would reauthorize the program for five years and would provide greater stability for homeowners, small business owners, and the real estate market. It would also implement a series of sweeping reforms to reduce costs, establish a fairer claims process for policyholders and make generational investments in communities to reduce flood risk.

The NFIP-RE Act of 2023 addresses systemic problems with flood insurance, working to put the program on solid fiscal ground and reframing the nation’s entire disaster paradigm to one that focuses more on prevention and mitigation to prevent the high cost of rebuilding after flood disasters. According to the Associated Press, the NFIP is estimated to lose hundreds of thousands of policyholders over the coming years due to FEMA’s new rating methodology, Risk Rating 2.0, at a time when flood risk is only expected to grow.

“Helping our communities prepare for and recover from the devastation caused by flooding should be one of our highest priorities, especially as so many states continue to be hit with extreme weather,” said Senator Gillibrand. “The National Flood Insurance Program protects households in New York and across the country from the losses that follow major flooding, but for too many, flood insurance is becoming unaffordable. The NFIP-RE Act of 2023 will ensure that flood insurance programs are affordable, transparent, and accountable for New Yorkers and others across the country.”

The NFIP-RE Act of 2023 would:
• Protect policyholders from exorbitant premium hikes by capping annual increases at nine percent.
• Provide a comprehensive means-tested voucher for millions of low- and middle-income homeowners and renters if their flood insurance premium becomes prohibitively expensive.
• Increase the maximum limit for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage to better reflect the costs of rebuilding and implementing mitigation projects.
• Boost funding for mitigation grants and modernize mapping to identify and reduce flood risks.
• Create new oversight measures for insurance companies and vendors, and provide FEMA with greater authority to terminate contractors that have a track record of abuse.
• Reform the claims process based on lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy and other disasters to level the playing field for policyholders during appeal or litigation, hold FEMA accountable to strict deadlines so that homeowners get quick and fair payments, and ban aggressive legal tactics preventing homeowners from filing legitimate claims.

The bill is led by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA). It is cosponsored by Senators John Kennedy (R-LA), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Roger Wicker (R-MS), and Marco Rubio (R-FL).

The National Association of Counties, New Jersey Organizing Project, American Policyholder Association, New Orleans Chamber of Commerce, Baton Rouge Area Chamber, Home Builders Association of Greater Baton Rouge, and Greater New Orleans, Inc. support the NFIP-RE Act of 2023.

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