Congress must rewrite the federal flood control act if it wants to spare homeowners from skyrocketing rate increases, the nation’s top disaster official told a Senate committee Wednesday, saying he doesn’t have the authority to stop it.
“Let me put my cards on the table: I need your help,’’ said Craig Fugate, head of the Federal Emergency Management Administration at a hearing of the U.S. Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
Fugate said that despite indications that many homeowners could face massive rate increases for their homes in flood prone areas of the nation starting Oct. 1, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 included no provisions for affordability -- and he can't change that.
“Without some additional legislative support, there is no provision for affordability in this bill,’’ he said.
Fugate told the committee that he supported some modification because he has “found very little leeway as to how we can address affordability under the act.”
“I fully believe we should stop subsidizing risk as we go forward for new construction for second homes…but we need to look at not putting people out of their homes because flood insurance is too expensive.”
The hearing was called by senators who are increasingly alarmed by estimated rate increases for homeowners as a result of the act. With nearly 2 million homeowners covered under the act, Florida may be one of the hardest hit states in the nation.