Louisiana lawmakers look for ways to delay massive flood insurance rate hikes
POSTED: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 5:47pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - 6:20pm
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — Rising flood insurance rates due to the National Flood Insurance Program reform, could soon have some underwater.
The reform act was passed to try and help the national flood insurance plan out of a large deficit, now that it is actually being put into action though, lawmakers and homeowners are realizing the program could have some paying prices higher than their original mortgage. It's a burden Louisiana lawmakers don't want homeowners to start shouldering.
Aaron Newman is all too familiar with rising waters flood waters, and what it can mean for his home.
"Well normally when we get a heavy rain it gets pretty bad out here, floods up to about my waist deep. It's about four feet, just about," explained Newman, a Walker resident.
New legislation passed last year by congress would have people like Newman and his father paying 2,000 to 3,000 percent more for flood insurance.
"That's pretty dramatic, or pretty big," said Newman.
The National Flood Insurance Program reform responsible for those hikes passed last year, but Louisiana lawmakers are hoping to add a little pressure to their Washington counterparts to relieve the burden on Bayou State homeowners and at least delay that start date.
"The 2,000 to 3,000 percent hike in flood insurance certainly can be devastating to a consumer and so that's a very serious issue that we need to look at. I am extremely concerned about that as I know my colleagues are because it's not affordable for the average home owner," said state democratic senator Sharon Weston-Broome.
State lawmakers are ready and willing to work on their own laws to ease the pain of rate hikes, but until the gavel calls them back in to session for 2014, all they can do is wait on Washington for some relief.
"We're trying to hear testimony, we're gaining additional information, we're hearing the concerns of our constituents. We're collaborating with elected officials on all levels," explained Weston-Broome.
"The more they hear messages from us and across the country, the more likely they are to act and so I think it's about turning the volume up as loud as possible," added Michael Hecht with the Greater New Orleans Inc. Regional Economic Development.
Several lawmakers from the Louisiana delegation have urged their colleagues in D.C. to at the very least delay the start date of the program. It did go into effect on October 1, in the midst of the government shutdown.