2013-09-20 / Top Stories

National Realtors Say No To Flood Insurance Hike

By Dan Guarino

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) doesn’t think raising national flood insurance rates is a good idea.

In a recent talking points message to members, NAR points out that “Approximately 5.6 million property owners in over 20,000 communities across the country rely on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for flood insurance.”

Under the provisions of the Biggert-Waters Act, the federal subsidy for such insurance would be eliminated, which NAR feels would create a staggering burden for homeowners and homebuyers.

NAR bills itself as America’s largest trade association, representing more than one million members across the country.

NAR is asking its realtor members to “support efforts to delay NFIP rate increases for grandfathered and newly-purchased properties” and also “thank members of the House for approving a delay in NFIP grandfathered rate increases for another year.

“Encourage them to expand the delay to include newly purchased properties as well.”

They point out that under Biggert-Waters “the law also directed FEMA to report on the affordability of these reforms so Congress could consider the impact... That congressionally mandated report is now overdue.”

“A delay in newly-mandated NFIP rate increases will allow FEMA to determine more accurately how these rates will impact property owners, as Congress planned, and give affected property owners more time to respond to higher rates.”

NAR also argues that “If fewer homeowners can afford flood insurance, in the event of future floods, taxpayers will spend more on federal disaster relief to owners of uninsured properties.”

“Without flood insurance, homeowners located in flood zones could default on their mortgage.”

The bottom line, they say, is “Congress should not let the rate increases go into effect until FEMA can submit its report so that Congress understands the full impact of these reforms on homeowners.”

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