Boustany: Flood insurance is top priority

MORGAN CITY, La. — Making sure the FEMA flood maps accurately reflect the flood risk in St. Mary Parish and all along the coast while trying to keep insurance rates affordable is a top priority for the Louisiana delegation in Congress, Rep. Charles Boustany, R-Lafayette, said Monday.

Boustany wants to ensure that the flood maps are taking into account local levees and non-federal levees to accurately reflect flood risk rather than using arbitrary data, he said.

The delegation is looking at trying to spread the phasing out of flood insurance subsidies over a longer period of time, Boustany said. Another issue that needs to be addressed is to make sure the flood risk is spread evenly across the country to help premiums come down, he said.

Boustany and others in Congress are also looking at trying to continue grandfathering property owners’ flood insurance rates where there is no history of flooding, he said.

“As a delegation, we’re united in trying to come up with a solution. And we’ve got others in Congress that are interested in working on this too,” Boustany said.

Wind insurance has also been an issue Boustany has dealt with during his time in Congress.

“During Hurricane Rita, I had areas in the congressional district very much affected by wind,” he said. Boustany said he has been a “strong advocate” of trying to get a good wind insurance program in place so that “when you have a big storm event that combines flooding with wind, you don’t have the kind of confusion we had last time,” he said.

Regarding flood insurance, Boustany and others in the Louisiana congressional delegation are working in tandem with the northeast delegation in New York and New Jersey, which recently saw the impact of hurricanes and flooding from Hurricane Sandy, he said.

The delegation is also working with legislators from the western U.S. who deal with river flooding, Boustany said.

Boustany mentioned St. Mary Parish President Paul Naquin’s visit to Washington, D.C., last week along with other parish presidents from coastal parishes to discuss the flood insurance issue.

“LSU’s done some very good work on this showing that there are major inaccuracies” in FEMA flood maps, he said. “We have to make sure we’re using the best science and the most accurate science to get to the bottom of this.”

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