FEMA Withdraws Flood Insurance NPRM

It would have required owners of structures that have sustained multiple flood losses to pay a higher premium if they declined an offer of funding to eliminate or reduce future flood damage.

More than 12 years after publishing a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) to address the problem of multiple flood losses to older structures, FEMA on May 30, 2012, finally withdrew it, saying a 2004 federal law and a 2009 final rule superseded it.

The law, named the Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004, accomplished the same thing: It authorizes increases to the flood insurance premium rates for building owners with repetitive losses who decline offers of mitigation funding.

The NPRM proposal defined "target repetitive loss buildings" as ones with four or more losses or with two or more flood losses cumulatively higher than the building's value. Although this new FEMA notice says correcting the problem of multiple flood losses to older structures is one of its highest priorities, it doesn't explain why the NPRM remained on hold for so many years. The notice says it attracted only seven comments -– some in favor, some saying the proposal might harm the mortgage industry, and one saying it would be economically harmful to homeowners who suffer flood damage through no fault of their own.

Many buildings erected before their communities' Flood Insurance Rate Maps were published are at greater risk because they were built before full flood risk information was available, according to the notice, which says FEMA actuarial studies have shown that owners of National Flood Insurance Program-insured buildings that repetitively flood are not charged premiums that truly reflect the risk.

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