AG Coakley Statement on Senate Legislation to Delay Flood Insurance Rate Hikes
BOSTON – In an effort to delay massive flood insurance rate hikes for homeowners across the country, the U.S. Senate today approved bi-partisan legislation that postpones rate increases until the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assesses the impact of an overhaul to the flood insurance program. Attorney General Martha Coakley, who has staunchly opposed the rate increases, issued this statement:
“I thank the Senate, and particularly Senators Warren and Markey, for taking this crucial step forward in the fight to keeping families in their homes at a time when we’re still recovering from the housing foreclosure crisis that crippled our economy. There is no question that dramatically increased flood insurance rates will cause thousands of homeowners to lose their homes and it is our hope that the House will also pass legislation to prevent that from happening.”
In September, AG Coakley spoke at the “Make Waves” rally in Scituate alongside State Representative Jim Cantwell; State Representative Garrett Bradley; State Senator Robert Hedlund; Congressman Stephen Lynch and local elected officials, calling on Congress and FEMA to reform new flood insurance laws. In October, AG Coakley sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) urging the delay of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act until FEMA complies with Congress’ mandate to undertake an affordability review and a peer review of the new flood zone maps defined in the bill.
AG Coakley also filed legislation at the state level with House Speaker Robert DeLeo to cap the amount of flood insurance mortgage lenders may require of homeowners. The proposed legislation, An Act Relative to Flood Insurance, would prohibit creditors from requiring homeowners to purchase flood insurance in an amount that exceeds the outstanding balance of their mortgage, requiring coverage for contents, or including a deductible of less than $5,000.
In November, AG Coakley filed an amicus brief supporting a Mississippi lawsuit alleging the new flood rates are arbitrary and unlawful. The brief argues that FEMA failed to collect accurate data before implementing the new rates.