WALTHAM, Mass. – January 30, 2014- Massachusetts REALTORS® applauded U.S. Senate passage today of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, S. 1926. In a 67-32 bi-partisan vote, the bill would require a four year delay in implementation of costly flood insurance rate increases resulting from the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act.
The measure now goes to the House of Representatives. Realtors have been actively advocating for reform since the dramatic increases in flood insurance premiums became known.
“This legislation will help homeowners across the country and especially here in Massachusetts where they are seeing extreme increases in their premiums,” said 2014 MAR President Peter Ruffini, regional vice president at Jack Conway & Co., in Norwell. “This delay would provide the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the time to complete an affordability study and research the true impact of the law as we have experienced it here.”
Data from the National Association of Realtors® shows that through January 2014, just four months into the law’s implementation, more than 40,000 home sales were estimated to be either delayed or canceled because of increases and confusion over flood insurance rates. The Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 was meant to stabilize National Flood Insurance Program rates.
“The unintended consequences of the Biggert-Waters Act, along with incomplete FEMA flood maps and inconsistent rate calculations, led to huge premium increases for many policy owners across the country. We applaud the support of Massachusetts Senators Warren and Markey and thank bill sponsors, Sens. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga. We now look to the House of Representatives to take up the bill in the same bipartisan manner” said Ruffini.