Senate passes flood insurance affordability measure - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Senate passes flood insurance affordability measure

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - For Dean Marullo and many others in the Venetian Isles neighborhood, it's another major step forward.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, further easing fears of soaring rates and foreclosures.

"I was looking at a $28,000 premium, which there's no way I could've paid," Marullo said. "I was pretty worried, but I'm happy today."

The bill caps yearly insurance premium increases for individuals at 18 percent.

It restores the grandfather provision, meaning homeowners who complied with previous flood maps will not face large increases if the maps change.

Also, if a homeowner sells, the existing insurance policy can be passed on to the buyer.

The bill breezed through the Senate by a vote of 72-22. It now awaits the president's signature.

"It means that we probably have won," said GNO Inc. President Michael Hecht. "We've managed to change the real impacts of Biggert-Waters and now we can move forward to figure out how we should do flood insurance for the entire nation in a way that creates a sustainable program that protects people who play by the rules. So, it's great news for Louisiana. It's great news for America."

Hecht fought alongside members of the Louisiana delegation in trying to educate other parts of the country that the Biggert-Waters Act was poised to affect hundreds of thousands of homeowners from coast to coast.

"It was protecting people who have done the right thing, paid their taxes and are trying to live the American dream. I don't think the intent of the flood insurance program was ever to undermine and eviscerate that dream. So now, we can start over and do it in a way that's right," Hecht said.

Critics have argued that taxpayers will have to foot the bill for those homeowners living in high-flood risk areas.

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