News

Flood Bill Signed Into Law

Click the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 to read it in entirety.

July 9, 2012

WASHINGTON—President Obama late Friday signed legislation that reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance program until Sept. 30, 2017, ending years of political stalemate.

The signing marks the first time since 2004 that a new NFIP reauthorization has gone into effect, and ends a political impasse that began in 2007, when debate opened in the House on legislation that would replace the NFIP reauthorization legislation enacted in 2003.  The program has been extended for short intervals 17 times since its authorization first ran out Sept. 30, 2008, according to data compiled by officials of the House Financial Services Committee.  The program temporarily lost authorization four times, mostly in 2011, resulting in postponement of house sale closings in communities where flood insurance is mandatory for 53 days, according to the FSC and industry officials.

The law, Title II of H.R. 4348, the Surface Transportation Extension Act of 2012, is part of a transportation bill.

Key highlights include allowing the Fema to raise rates a maximum of 20 percent annually, as compared to 10 percent annually under the current program.  It also mandates that owners of second homes, properties with repetitive flood claims and commercial properties will go up 20 percent over the next five years, raising them to actuarially-adjusted fees. That will be effective July 1.

The bill reiterates FEMA’s authority to buy private reinsurance to back the program, which is aimed at reducing FEMA’s reliance on Treasury loans to fund the program.  The reforms are projected to generate an additional $2.7 billion in new revenues over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

“At long last our government has signed into law meaningful NFIP reform,” said Jimi Grande, senior vice president of federal and political affairs for the National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.

He noted that the core legislation passed the Insurance Subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee more than a year ago, and “ensures that Americans have access to flood insurance and just as important, that the NFIP will begin to charge adequate rates.”

Grande says the bill “should place the NFIP on the path to a more sound fiscal footing.”

Tom Litjen, vice president of federal government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America adds that the signing “is a momentous occasion” adding, “This legislation will bring much needed certainty to flood-prone communities and greater stability for the housing market.”

Robert Rusbuldt, president and chief executive officer of the Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, commends President Obama and Congress for working together, saying “The IIABA looks forward to the implementation of the many provisions that will help put the program on more solid financial footing.”

Despite the sigh of relief that long-term certainty has been achieved, some industry officials are privately voicing concern about two areas of the bill.  One is removal of a provision that mandates that homeowners who live behind levees and other flood control structures buy flood insurance.  The other is the provision raising rates to market level within four years on second homes and vacation properties.

The concern is that allowing homeowners and businesses that live in areas behind levees to escape paying into the program will reduce revenues and that those being forced to pay market rates for second homes and vacation properties will decide to buy private insurance. That move would rob the program of needed revenues, and throw off the calculations used by the Congressional Budget Office to project higher revenues through the reforms included in the program, the officials said.

 

FEMA Updates Website … New Links

The Department of Homeland Security’s FEMA recently launched the new FEMA.gov.  Please be informed that many of the most popular Hazard Mitigation Assistance web links have changed:

Hazard Mitigation Assistance:  http://preview.fema.gov/hazard-mitigation-assistance

 

FEMA also announces their newest publication for grants resources.

  • Environmental and Historic Preservation (EHP) At-A-Glance:   http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=5904  This document provides provides information on how to incorporate environmental and historic preservation considerations into your Hazard Mitigation Assistance application and project.
  • Version 4.8 of the Benefit Cost Analysis Software is now available.  The updated toolkit and updated training materials are available on the Benefit Cost Analysis website at http://www.fema.gov/benefit-cost-analysis.

 

Engineering Principles and Practices for Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Structures

The third edition of Engineering Principles and Practices for Retrofitting Flood-Prone Residential Structures (FEMA P 259) is now available from the FEMA Publications Warehouse! To read more about the document and for other information, see the article here: [Full Article]

 

2013 Conservation Innovation Grant

United States Department of Agriculture – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

Deadline: March 6, 2013

NRCS provides funding opportunities for agriculturalists and others through various programs. Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production. Under CIG, Environmental Quality Incentives Program funds are used to award competitive grants to non-Federal governmental or nongovernmental organizations, Tribes, or individuals. CIG enables NRCS to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the Nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns.

CIG will benefit agricultural producers by providing more options for environmental enhancement and compliance with Federal, State, and local regulations. NRCS administers CIG.   Go to http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/detail/national/programs/?&cid=stelprdb1048817  to learn more.

 

Private Sector More Tools and Information

FEMA.gov includes a dedicated portal where the private sector can find resources and information covering the whole emergency management cycle. This portal also includes social media applications, such as Twitter and a widget, information on training, grants, other federal resources, and weekly tips: www.fema.gov/privatesector.

 

New Best Practices via FEMA

 

KSU Invests in Safety for Students and Faculty

Kentucky State University (KSU) received a grant provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) to install two tornado shelters at the satellite locations. Grey Mandeel, the Safety and Compliance Officer said, “The whole point of the mitigation is that you plan prior to something happening. You can’t put a price tag on someone being swept away by a tornado when you could have done something to prevent it. Compared to that, the cost of a tornado shelter is a drop in the bucket.”  http://www.fema.gov/mitigationbp/brief.do?mitssId=9251

 

Johnson County Phone Service Alerts Residents of Possible Risks

Paintsville, located in primarily rural Johnson County, Kentucky, having experienced difficulty in the past notifying residents of emergencies, decided to take action to save lives in the future. The emergency notification system is a web-based program that is controlled from a computer in the Paintsville emergency management center. When the system is activated, a series of phone calls are made to phone numbers in the database to warn citizens of impending danger.  http://www.fema.gov/mitigationbp/bestPracticeDetail.do?mitssId=9252

 

To view various newsletters, go to https://www.kymitigation.org/training/newsletters/

 

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