Rep. Zeldin Introduces Legislation to Protect Long Island Flood Insurance Policyholders, Especially Targeted to Those Who Invest in Mitigation Activities
Washington, DC - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1), member of the House Financial Services Committee and Housing and Insurance Subcommittee, announced today that he has introduced the NFIP Policyholder Protection Act (H.R. 2868), as part of Congress’ overall effort to reauthorize and reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The bill is expected to be marked up in committee as early as this week.
Congressman Zeldin’s bill would result in a credit to policyholders who invest in mitigation activities, such as elevating their homes, adding porous foundations, or moving boilers to the second floor, to lower premiums and help reduce the cost to homeowners. The legislation also caps the maximum premium that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can charge a policyholder in a given year at $10,000 per year to protect and expand homeowners’ access to quality insurance so that they are prepared for the next storm. Additionally, the bill requires FEMA to move toward providing coverage for co-op units within the NFIP program. There are more than 9,300 co-op housing units in Suffolk County alone and many of them are within flood hazard zones. By allowing individuals and families access to flood insurance plans to protect their units, residents will have more flexibility to protect their homes.
Congressman Zeldin said, “NY-1 is almost completely surrounded by water, which is why, as we saw during Super Storm Sandy, so many homeowners rely upon the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to protect their property. However, NFIP is in dire need of reform to address the program’s debt of $24.6 billion, protect homeowners’ access to affordable insurance, and improve the way claims are processed so that policyholders aren’t stuck dealing with bureaucracy and red tape after their property is damaged by a flood. That is why, as part of the overall effort to reauthorize and reform NFIP, I have introduced the NFIP Policyholder Protection Act. Making insurance more affordable and providing more access to NFIP policies are key. We also must shift the focus toward mitigation so that there is an incentive for homeowners and communities to take proactive steps to protect against flood damage. A recurring concern that I hear across the district is that homeowners who have done the right thing and elevated or renovated their homes have not seen a corresponding drop in flood insurance premiums. Taxpayers save $3 for every $1 that is spent on mitigation, which is a key reason why preparedness must be a critical focus to protect life and property. Also worth noting, NFIP also has a government monopoly that crowds out private insurers and makes it difficult for them to write and sell these supplemental plans so essential on Long Island. Passage of this bill is critical to protect homeowners on Long Island and across the country. I look forward to getting this bill across the finish line.”