For Immediate Release - March 05, 2014

AG Coakley Statement on House Legislation Addressing Unfair Flood Insurance Rate Increases

BOSTON – In an effort to prevent massive flood insurance rate hikes for homeowners across the country, the U.S. House of Representatives today approved bi-partisan legislation that could limit rate increases to 1 percent of the total coverage of each policy, Attorney General Martha Coakley, who has staunchly opposed the rate increases, issued this statement:

“I applaud the U.S. House for acting to reverse many of the harmful impacts of the Biggert-Waters Act by passing reform measures last night,” AG Coakley said. “This legislation takes a balanced approach and brings much needed relief to communities, homeowners and businesses at a pivotal point in our nation's economic recovery, in addition to requiring transparency and collaboration in FEMA's process going forward. The Massachusetts congressional delegation ensured that our voices were heard in both the Senate and House. Now I hope both we can quickly come to an agreement on a compromise piece of legislation that ensures the most harmful provisions of Biggert-Waters are reversed once and for all.”

 

BACKGROUND:

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.

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.

AG Coakley recently testified in support of legislation at the state level that she filed 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.

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