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Capps Votes for Bill Making Flood Insurance More Affordable for Central Coast Homeowners

Legislation would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for five years and make needed financial reforms

Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara, voted Tuesday for the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011 (House Resolution 1309), which passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 406-22.

The bill would reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program for five years and make needed reforms to address the financial stability of the program by phasing out nonessential premium subsidies.

The legislation is particularly relevant for homeowners in the Santa Maria Valley and the cities of Oxnard and Ventura. Santa Barbara and Ventura counties and the City of Santa Maria all wrote letters to Capps expressing support for the legislation.

“I’m very pleased to support this bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Flood Insurance Program and allow homeowners in participating communities to purchase flood insurance,” Capps said. “For those that live in our country’s floodplains, like the Santa Maria Valley and Oxnard Plain, this bill is welcome news. I’m also glad that the final legislation approved by the House today would phase-in the full cost of a flood insurance policies in a more equitable way moving forward and allow FEMA to approve up to a five-year delay of mandatory purchase requirements. Both of these provisions will be of great assistance to many of my constituents in these trying economic times.”

The legislation includes two provisions strongly advocated by Capps to help homeowners on the Central and South Coasts. The first allows the FEMA administrator to approve up to a five-year delay of mandatory purchase requirements to ensure newly mapped communities have adequate time to rebuild their levees before high-cost insurance rates go into effect. This provision is particularly important as Capps continues her efforts at the federal level to complete the repair of the Santa Maria River Levee.

Capps recently sent a letter to the Obama administration urging it provide construction funds for the completion of the project in the fiscal year 2013 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers budget. Capps was instrumental in bringing federal funds to Santa Maria for the repair of the levee.

The second provision Capps pushed for in the bill would phase-in the cost of flood insurance over five years for recently remapped areas, based on the Preferred Risk Policy Rate, to save homeowners additional money. She offered an amendment to the legislation with California Rep. Doris Matsui to ensure homeowners on the Central and South coasts deal with the economic effects of flood remapping in a responsible way. The amendment was adopted unanimously.

H.R. 1309 also would phase in full-risk, actuarial rates for homeowners in newly classified flood zones, establish a new Technical Mapping Advisory Council to develop new mapping standards for 100-year flood insurance maps within 12 months of enactment and require FEMA to update all of its flood maps based on the council’s recommendations over a five-year period.

The Flood Insurance Reform Act has been endorsed by numerous organizations, including the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of Homebuilders, the American Insurance Association, the Property Casualty Insurers Association and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America.

— Ashley Schapitl is press secretary for Rep. Lois Capps, D-Santa Barbara.

 

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