Senate to vote to delay flood insurance increases

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 28, 2014 at 9:44 pm •  Published: January 28, 2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is on track to pass bipartisan legislation to delay controversial flood insurance rate increases for hundreds of thousands of people.

The legislation, which could pass the Senate as early as Wednesday, would delay for up to four years premium increases set to phase in next year on homeowners facing whopping premium increases under new flood maps. It also would allow homeowners with subsidized insurance policies to pass them on to people who buy their homes.

Other changes, including higher premiums for frequently flooded properties and on 1.7 million second homes, would remain in place. The White House is cool to the measure, but it has not threatened a veto.

A sweeping overhaul passed in 2012 was designed to make the federal flood insurance program more financially stable and bring insurance rates more in line with the real risk of flooding.

However, the new rates have caused panic among hundreds of thousands of people who face big premium jumps as flood maps are updated in coming years. The loss of subsidies when homes are sold has put a damper on the real estate market and threatened home values.

The Senate measure to delay some of the changes is likely to pass after votes on a host of amendments, including a plan by Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., to phase in rate increases more slowly.

Its future in the House was uncertain at best, where Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, oppose the Senate bill but are considering a far more modest measure that would leave more of the 2012 overhaul in place.

Continue reading this story on the...