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Pallone and Pascrell Introduce Bipartisan Flood Insurance Reform Bill in the House

July 19, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressmen Frank Pallone (NJ-06) and Bill Pascrell (NJ-09) introduced the bipartisan Sustainable, Affordable, Fair and Efficient National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (SAFE NFIP) of 2017. The bill protects policyholders from skyrocketing premiums and reauthorizes the NFIP for six years, while also reforming current practices. Those reforms include: improved flood mapping, greater affordability, and increased oversight of the program.

Last month Pascrell and Pallone announced their support for the Senate version of the SAFE NFIP Act, which was spearheaded by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Senator John Kennedy (R-LA), and their intention to work with House colleagues to introduce companion legislation.

The Congressmen have been leaders in demanding transparency and swift action on behalf of those who have suffered from inefficiencies and widespread fraud in the National Flood Insurance Program, and have championed the need for reforms of the program. 

The legislation would take concrete steps to improve quality and accountability in the National Flood Insurance Program by implementing the following policies:

-          Provide long-term certainty, reauthorizing the NFIP for six years.

-          Protect policyholders from excessive rate hikes, capping annual premium increases to 10 percent.

-          Reinvest in proactive mitigation efforts that have a 4:1 return on investment, with some projects enjoying a 54:1 return on investment.

-          Fund new Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) technology for more accurate mapping of flood risks across the country.

-          Provide FEMA with greater authority to terminate contractors that have a track record of abuse.

“Superstorm Sandy devastated many communities in my district. In the wake of the storm, too many of my constituents found that, after responsibly paying for their flood insurance, their policy failed to provide the coverage they needed and deserved when they needed it the most. Many were prevented from repairing their homes and resuming their lives by a claims review process that moved too slowly and was riddled with fraud. As this was happening and people were suffering, the flood insurance companies made record profits.” said Rep. Pallone. “The SAFE NFIP Act takes concrete steps to make the program more affordable, increase oversight and transparency of the flood insurance companies, invest in mitigation efforts, and reform the claims process using lessons learned from Sandy. I look forward to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to fight for this bill and our constituents.”

“Too many New Jerseyans were left holding the bag in the wake of Superstorm Sandy,” said Congressman Pascrell.  “In many cases, it took years for them to work through the claims review process to repair the damage done to their homes, businesses, and lives. As my constituents suffered, we learned this slow process was rife with fraud, abuse, and waste. Now, with Congress set to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, New Jerseyans deserve to know their representatives are fighting for their interests in Washington. Unlike thepartisan legislation coming from some corners in the House, the bipartisan SAFE NFIP Act makes needed reforms based on the lessons learned from the devastation of Superstorm Sandy. The SAFE NFIP Act creates investments in pre-disaster flood control and mitigation efforts, increases oversight and transparency of the flood insurance companies, and reforms the claims process in order to help protect New Jersey families in the future.”

In 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated New Jersey and other states along the Eastern Seaboard, causing tens of billions of dollars in economic losses, and destroying or damaging hundreds of thousands of homes. The recovery of many New Jerseyans has been hindered by FEMA’s handling of the Sandy Claims Review Process. According to the FEMA, 16% of claims in the review process remain open. So far, policyholders have received $217,320,492 in additional payments from FEMA.

Congressmen Pallone and Pascrell will continue to work with their colleagues on both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol to make meaningful improvements to the flood insurance program. The House bill is also cosponsored by Reps. Albio Sires (NJ-08), Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12), and Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ-10).Congress must reauthorize the NFIP, which expires on Sept. 30, 2017.