HR 3370 Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 – Concluding Thoughts

HR 3370, Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, modifies most of the glaring issues found in Biggert-Waters. It will provide a smoother transition for homeowners on the path to full risk actuarial insurance costs. It does not completely eliminate homeowners eventually having to pay full actuarial costs. There are many other portions of the act that applies directives to FEMA, or affects a very small class of homeowners (reimbursement for successful appeals for instance only affects one neighborhood).

The biggest thing Dennis residents should know about this act is, IT ONLY BUY’S YOUR TIME. If you are located in a flood zone your rates are going to slowly increase. Like the proverbial frog in a pan of water; if you place a frog into boiling water, it jumps out; if you place it into cool water and slowly raise the temperature, it will boil to death; Biggert-Waters was the frog being placed into boiling water, this act is the slow increase in temperature. Property owners within the existing and soon to be designated flood zones need to use this time wisely and not simply adjust to the slow increase in insurance premiums. Homeowners need to use this time to access funds to flood proof their homes.

I have put this forward in the past, and want to use this opportunity again to reach out and try to start a list of property owners who would like to participate in future grant opportunities for home elevation.  Annually, FEMA makes available funds for pre-disaster mitigation efforts, Home flood-proofing is a high priority for use of these funds. Last year I only had one taker who was able to complete design plans during the call for projects. One home was not a competitive application. I would like to move forward with 10-15 homes. Your responsibility is to have a design that is ready to go should the funding become available that can be included in the grant application. The design should include a cost estimate for the work. I would also need to include in the grant application a commitment by the interested homeowners to fund the non-federal share of the cost of elevating the structure. FEMA will participate in flood-proofing existing structures. Expansion of structures are not eligible costs.

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