For Immediate Release - February 05, 2014

Statements of AG Martha Coakley and Speaker Robert DeLeo on U.S. House Republican's Vote to Block Delay of New FEMA Flood Insurance Rates

BOSTON – In response to U.S. House Republicans’ vote to block delay of new FEMA flood insurance rates that have already proven to be unaffordable for many homeowners, Attorney General Martha Coakley and House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo issued the following statements:

 "This is an immediate crisis that requires immediate action,” said AG Coakley. “These new flood insurance rates will devastate families and businesses across Massachusetts, and I am greatly disappointed that House Republicans have blocked a vote to offer much needed relief. The Senate last week passed bi-partisan legislation to delay implementation of these unfair rates, and the House should do the same - as soon as possible."

“As Speaker of the House of Massachusetts and as a representative from a coastal district, I hear from families and constituents about how detrimental FEMA’s flood insurance changes are for them,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “While we are working together in Massachusetts to provide some relief, I am saddened to see House Republicans opposing common sense bipartisan legislation that would slow down these massive rate increases threatening to cripple homeowners throughout our state."

 

BACKGROUND:

AG Coakley and Speaker DeLeo filed legislation at the state level 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.

On January 30, AG Coakley praised the U.S. Senate for approving 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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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