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Kennedy introduces bills to protect Louisiana homeowners from skyrocketing flood insurance costs

By Erin Edwards

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.), a member of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, introduced two bills to reduce flood insurance premiums for Louisianans. Risk Rating Transparency Act 2.0 would require the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to publish an explanation of how the agency determines prices for flood insurance under the rating risk 2.0. The Flood Insurance Affordability Act would cap annual increases in flood insurance premiums.

“The Biden administration refuses to show lawmakers the new algorithm it is using to raise flood insurance premiums. With millions of Louisianans relying on the NFIP to protect their homes against natural disasters, FEMA must explain why premiums are skyrocketing below the 2.0 risk rating. In the meantime, my bills would ensure fairer rates for Louisiana residents,” Kennedy said.

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Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) co-sponsored the Risk Rating Transparency 2.0 Act.

“At a minimum, policyholders deserve to know exactly why their premiums are costing as much as they do, especially when that rate is higher than in previous years. From the beginning, FEMA has not communicated with the public or Congress on how it developed the new flood insurance rate structure. This bill would ensure transparency from FEMA regarding the 2.0 Risk Rating, so homeowners are not left in the dark,” Hyde-Smith said.

According to FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0, Louisiana homeowners expect to see an estimated 122% increase in their flood insurance premiums.

The Risk Rating Transparency Act 2.0 would make FEMA responsible for creating an online database for policyholders under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The database would provide information on premium rates and how FEMA sets those rates.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) co-sponsored the Flood Insurance Affordability Act.

“Flood insurance is vitally important to Floridians and Americans living in coastal communities. People shouldn’t have to pay an arm and a leg to make sure they’re protected. This legislation is common sense,” Rubio said.

The Flood Insurance Affordability Act would lower the legal limit on annual premium increases for primary resident owners below the 2.0 risk rating of the current 18% limit to 9%.