FEMA making flood insurance changes

The American Press

FEMA and flood insurance

Sometimes the best way to prod Congress to do something is to take the initiative, and that is exactly what the Federal Emergency Management Agency is doing in the flood insurance field. Congress can’t seem to agree on how to save the debt-burdened program.

FEMA officials want to loosen rules around private insurers offering their own flood policies and have purchased more reinsurance from companies to offset future losses, according to a report in The Advocate. The changes come as the program that is already $30 billion in debt pays more claims from 2017 hurricanes.

One National Flood Insurance Program official said opening up the flood insurance competition would benefit federal taxpayers by hopefully reducing the number of homeowners who go without coverage. 

The reinsurance move means if claims top $4 billion, the reinsurance coverage will kick in to cover the next $1.46 billion in losses.

An official with the American Insurance Association said the flooding events of 2016 and 2017 clearly show that too few property owners purchase flood insurance. He said there needs to be more ways to expand consumer options by expanding private coverage.

Louisiana members of Congress have their own ideas about how to save the flood program by reducing its debt, but each is different. U.S. Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., believes in sharing more coverage with private companies. U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., is co-author of a plan that promotes trimming back compensation to “Write Your Own” companies as a way to pull more money into the program.

House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, brokered a compromise that got an NFIP bill through the House. It split the congressional delegation down the middle. Those against it felt it was potentially devastating to homeowners in the state.

Scalise, however, vowed to protect homeowners whose rates are grandfathered in under the current program so those who played by the rules won’t be penalized or kicked out of the program.

U.S. Rep. Garret Graves, R-Baton Rouge, liked the idea of opening up the market, but said FEMA should have left changes to the NFIP to Congress. He said it jeopardizes a long-term fix. If others in Congress feel that way, FEMA may be doing exactly what it takes to spur Congress to finally fix the flood insurance program.

Crime

Sulphur High student arrested after threat made

Crime

Sheriff: Escapee shot after firing at officers

Local News

Governor optimistic about federal hurricane aid for SW La.

Local News

Eastbound lane of I-10 bridge remains closed after fiery crash

Jim Beam

Jim Beam column:Finally, a feel-good movie

Business News

$21M rice mill should be complete by next harvest

Crime

Three more linked to Oakdale bar shooting

Local News

State confirms seventh pediatric death from COVID-19 in fourth surge

Local Business News

Jeff Davis hoping to join program designed to attract business

Local Business News

EMS Academy looking for ‘right people in right spots’

Local Business News

Four state amendments await voters Nov. 13

Local Business News

George Swift column: Recovery, rebuilding after storms

Local Business News

Names in the News: People making a difference in the Lake Area

Local News

Breaux has honed some serious culinary skills since his Crock-pot days

Local News

Cemetery Association asking for help with hurricane-damaged graves

Crime Brief

Fort Polk soldiers charged in DeRidder drive-by shooting

Crime Brief

Lake Arthur man loses hunting privileges

Local News

Higgins says he will vote against raising debt limit

Local News

Field of education plays major role in Broussard household

Local News

Driver, passenger killed in collision with 18-wheeler

Local News

Colo. man struck, killed in Calcasieu

Local News

The Last Island Hurricane of 1856: Killer storm wiped out a pre-Civil War resort island

Local News

Volunteer of Week: Stanford dedicates life to city

Local News

Slow rebuild: Local officials say recovery still a ways off