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.
Major Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as a Result of Biggert-Waters Act
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.
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.