The Courier, Houma, La., on flood insurance

Nov. 30
The Courier, Houma, La., on flood insurance:
The fate of widespread and unfair flood insurance price increases will likely be decided in Congress, not in the courts.
But it doesn’t hurt to seek help wherever it might be found.
Louisiana has joined in a lawsuit filed by Mississippi against the federal government, seeking a delay in the cost hikes that will result from implementation of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.
Mississippi is arguing that the new flood rules unfairly affect flood-prone residents and businesses that rely on flood insurance to help protect their largest investments.
Louisiana has just as much to lose in this process as Mississippi, and our state officials have understandably added Louisiana to the lawsuit.
While the fight for fairness in the debate over the future of the National Flood Insurance Program is of vital importance to Louisiana’s people and businesses, it is a fight that will probably not be decided in court.
Instead, Congress must reconsider the act that is bringing on these changes, which could be disastrous for the local area.
Members of the Louisiana congressional delegation must work to convince their colleagues from around the nation that the new rules are fundamentally unfair.
In doing away with federal subsidies and imposing a strictly risk-based pricing to flood insurance, along with implementing new mapping and risk determination, the government will be punishing people who have abided by the rules all along.
That alone is a compelling reason to reassess the changes.
A further reason to do so is the economic chaos that could ensue.
In coastal and low-lying regions across the nation, drastic flood insurance price increases could sap real estate markets and drain the value of property.
So rather than protecting people from natural disaster, the flood insurance program would become a crippling influence on many communities — including the local area where much of our land is at or near flood zone elevations.
The state purpose of the federal reforms was to make the program better able to sustain itself without government subsidies.
In the real world, though, these changes are likely to deprive the very people who need it most of the protection of flood insurance.
It is a fight worth pursuing both in court and in Congress ...

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