Marino: Spending bill won’t delay many high flood insurance rates

The $1.1 trillion spending bill President Barack Obama is expected to sign by Saturday initially was trumpeted to delay soaring flood insurance rates – but that now does not seem to be the case for many.

According to a statement issued from the office of U.S. Rep. Thomas A. Marino, R-Cogan Station, the bill’s provision “does not help people who bought or sold homes after July 2012, when (the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012) went into effect, nor does it help policyholders whose properties or businesses are classified as ‘severe repetitive loss properties.’ “

What the bill does do is offer a “temporary delay only to policyholders who were participating in the National Flood Insurance Program before Biggert-Waters was implemented and whose premium rates were grandfathered as a result of remapping,” according to the statement.

Before Biggert-Waters was passed, homeowners who participated in the National Flood Insurance Program and were in compliance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency had their rates grandfathered in if a remapping designated their properties as below base-flood elevation, according to Marino’s office.

However, Biggert-Waters changed this practice, requiring FEMA eventually to phase out any grandfathered rates, “meaning, over time, everyone receiving subsidized flood insurance would see an increase in their rates,” according to the statement.

The spending bill delays only the phasing out of grandfathered rates.

While Marino was not available for comment, Press Secretary Sarah Wolf said, “Without question, Tom knows more needs to be done. He is working closely with other members whose districts and constituents have been affected, and they are actively engaging with leadership.”