Area leaders in Washington fight rising flood insurance rates - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

Area leaders in Washington fight rising flood insurance rates

Washington -

South Louisiana leaders in Washington say changes to the National Flood Insurance Program would be more devastating than any hurricane.

Leaders from 13 parishes went to the nation's capitol, working to get people relief from a new law that's hiking insurance rates as much as 25 percent.

"The biggest disappointment I've found up here is no one has the same information," said St. Tammany Parish President Pat Brister.

St. Charles Parish President V.J. St. Pierre said they need a team effort in Washington: "I don't think we have that right now."

Representatives from more than a dozen parishes, including eight parish presidents, protest flood insurance rates slated to kick in next year. Increases in the Biggert Waters Act could force flood insurance premiums to jump as high as 25 percent for some home and business owners.

"It's clearly something working class individuals can't afford," said St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom.

Those families include like the Mechlers of Venetian Isles, who built their home 13 feet higher than code in the 80's. Now their insurance rates are slated to be 10 times higher than what they pay now.

Harold Mechler is thinking about his options. "A lot of people are going to take a chance without insurance, and the ones with mortgages are going to lose their houses." he said.

The delegation visited Washington just as Senator Mary Landrieu filed an amendment to the WRDA that will stop the rate increases until FEMA conducts an affordability study on the matter.

"What I think it will do is give us more time," Brister said. "It won't solve our problems but give us time to work on our issues before it goes into effect."

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