Biggerts-Water Act 2012
In July 2012, the U.S. Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) which calls on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and other agencies, to make a number of changes to the way the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is run. Some of these changes already have occurred, and others will be implemented in the coming months. Key provisions of the legislation will require the NFIP to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, make the program more financially stable, and change how Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates impact policyholders. The changes will mean premium rate increases for some—but not all—policyholders over time. Homeowners and business owners are encouraged to learn their flood risk and talk to their insurance agent to determine if their policy will be affected by BW-12.
Please Note: On Friday, March 20, 2014 the U.S. President signed the Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act 306-97 after the U.S.House of Representatives the Senate followed passed the bill earlier this month.
The Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act is a result of the passage of the Biggert-Waters Act (read more below), and it would require FEMA to delay the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act until FEMA has completed an affordability study and framework to help minimize the hardship for homeowners. The passing of the Affordability Act would require FEMA to provide Congress with all the facts regarding how rate increases may be distributed and how they may affect homeowners and communities. | Read More
Major Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as a Result of Biggert-Waters Act
- Higher insurance premiums for homes and businesses below the Base Flood Elevation (BFE).
- No discounts will be given to homeowners for properties below the BFE, even if they met the building code at the time of construction.
- Pre-FIRM (Flood Insurance Rate Map) and grandfathered rates will be phased-out.
- Subsidized insurance rates will be phased out for all properties except pre-FIRM primary residences that have not lost their qualification for the rate.
These changes may have adverse affects to Seabrook residents and businesses that are now considered to be below the BFE. It is predicted that housing vacancy rates will rise and homeowners with no mortgage may simply drop flood insurance, which they will no longer be able to afford. In addition, the potential devaluation of property could decrease the property tax base.
What You Can Do to Help
The Seabrook City Council has sent a letter in opposition to the Biggert-Waters Act and encourages the community to do so also. Below is several sample letters that the community may use to draft their own letter.
Organizations Helping to Amend the Act
Here are a couple of organizations who are working to help amend the Biggerts-Water Act. They provided useful information to the public about the act and what residents can do to help delay it's implementation.