New push to derail flood insurance hike - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports

New push to derail flood insurance hike

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LaPlace, La. - When Hurricane Isaac flooded St. John Parish last August, people struggled to get out. While escaping the floodwaters was tough, John Vincent says trying to come back home was even worse.

"People had severe problems with contractors not fulfilling their agreements or finishing their home. I just finished my house after eight months," says Vincent.

Vincent was able to return just in time for another hurricane season and with no federal levee protection, he fears what will happen.

"The scary thing of another storm this season is what the insurance companies are going to do. I really worry what Louisiana will do. I think they're going to run off half the population of people who are not going to be able to stay here and live," says Vincent.

Worries over soaring flood insurance now are added to the list of issues Vincent is already facing.

The Biggert-Waters Act was created to help stabilize the National Flood Insurance Program,which is about $25 billion in debt. Now thousands of home and business owners are being warned of dire consequences from the one-two punch of the Biggert-Waters Act and revised FEMA flood maps.

Local leaders point to examples of policies soaring 5,000 percent or even more in some cases.

Representatives from more than a dozen parishes formed a delegation to protest the flood insurance rates in Washington back in May.  

This week, one of the lead sponsors of the flood insurance reform law, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California), has fired off a letter to FEMA. 26 House members signed the letter asking FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate to block the large increases in premiums. 

The lawmakers requested a summary of actions the agency will take, along with any legislative recommendations from FEMA, by July 15. So far, there's been no response from FEMA.

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