Hoeven: Senate Passes Legislation Preventing Flood Insurance Rate Increases

Hoeven-Heitkamp Basement Exception Amendment Included

WASHINGTON - Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. Senate has passed the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, legislation he has been pressing to approve in order to prevent the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from unfairly raising flood insurance rates. The measure will help ensure affordable premiums for millions of Americans and includes the Hoeven-Heitkamp Flood Safe Basements provision, which enables homeowners to receive credit for flood proofed basements when determining flood insurance rates. A similar measure has been introduced in the House. 

“A home or a business is one of a person’s most valued possessions, which is why families and businesses need reliable and affordable flood insurance rates,” Hoeven said. “It is very important that we have affordable flood insurance, not only for all North Dakotans, but for all Americans. The bill we’ve just passed works to maintain reasonable premium rates, and with the inclusion of our amendment, also makes sure people get credit for the work they’ve already done to protect their basements.”

On October 1, 2013, over four million home and business owners in the U.S., including many in North Dakota, saw their flood insurance rates significantly increase because of reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program. The Senate bill will fix this issue and prevent flood insurance rate increases until FEMA completes an affordability study to ensure that premiums are affordable for American families and businesses. After the study, the bill mandates that FEMA propose rules to address affordability and give Congress adequate time to review the proposals.

The bill includes a provision authored by Senator Hoeven and cosponsored by Senator Heidi Heitkamp to continue the basement exception, allowing communities to continue using floodproofed basement credits to reduce the cost of their policies. Hoeven and Heitkamp have been working directly with FEMA to ensure that the agency maintains the current Base Flood Elevation insurance rating method that determines insurance rates by evaluating the lowest proofed opening in a home rather than the lowest floor, or basement approach. Fourteen North Dakota communities are currently approved for the residential basement floodproofed rating credit, as well as 40 additional communities across the country.