The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act H.R. 3370 was introduced by Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) on October 29, 2013 to delay the implementation of certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. The bi-partisan legislation is now referred to as the Menendez/Grimm Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014. President Obama signed the bill into law on March 21, 2014.

The bi-partisan legislation reverses changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) introduced by the Bigger-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, including preventing flood insurance rates from skyrocketing and requiring that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) address affordability issues before any flood insurance premiums can be raised in the future as well as display more transparency.

On January 30, 2014, the U.S. Senate passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act which was sponsored by U.S. Senators Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) by a vote of 67-32.

Past Action

On Wednesday, February 26, 2014 the U.S. House of Representatives were scheduled to vote on the bill. However, House Republicans postponed the vote until the week of March 3, 2014 because of concerns they would not get the two-thirds majority needed for passage.

If H.R. 3370 is passed, it will delay the implementation of certain provisions contained in the Biggert-Waters law for four years and protects homeowners from being hit with inflated flood insurance premium rates and requires that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) address affordability issues before any flood insurance premiums can be raised in the future.

As Preservation Action members and preservation partners prepare for Advocacy Week, we urge you to encourage House members of congress to vote for the passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act.

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Key Highlights H.R. 3370

Prohibits the Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from: (1) increasing flood insurance risk premium rates to reflect the current risk of flood for certain property located in specified areas subject to a certain mandatory premium adjustment, or (2) reducing such subsidies for any property not insured by the flood insurance program as of July 6, 2012, or any policy that has lapsed in coverage as a result of the policyholder’s deliberate choice

Directs FEMA to: (1) restore during such six-month period specified estimated risk premium rate subsidies for flood insurance for pre-FIRM properties and properties purchased after such six-month period, and (2) submit to certain congressional committees a draft affordability framework addressing the affordability of flood insurance sold under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Directs FEMA submit to certain congressional committees the affordability study and report.

Amends NFIA to authorize FEMA to reimburse homeowners for successful map appeals.

Makes any community that has made adequate progress on the construction (as under current law) or reconstruction (new) of a flood protection system which will afford flood protection for the one-hundred year frequency flood eligible for flood insurance at premium rates not exceeding those which would apply if such flood protection system had been completed.

Revises guidelines governing availability of flood insurance in communities restoring disaccredited flood protection systems to include riverine and coastal levees.