Thursday, August 15th, 2013
Baton Rouge, Louisiana
WHAT TO DO ABOUT RISING FLOOD INSURANCE RATES?
Property owners along the Gulf and East coasts are in a panic over projections of outrageous property flood insurance rates that, in some cases, could lead to increases of greater than 1000 per cent. Louisiana newspapers have reported proposed massive increases all over south Louisiana. The Lake Charles American Press reports that properties in suburban New Orleans could see rate increases going from $400 to $28,000 dollars. Is that an exaggeration? Yes. Is there really a problem finding affordable flood insurance along America’s coasts? Yes, and a growing one.
The current national flood insurance program has been around since 1968. Actually, it was created not so much because of hurricane damage, but due to widespread flooding along the Mississippi River in the early 1960s. More and more levees were built up and down the river, which created major flooding in unprotected areas. Private insurance companies could not handle the damage claims so the federal government stepped in. The program was extended to cover hurricane damage along the Gulf Coast, and if a homeowner didn’t get flood insurance, they were unable to get their home financed.
A year ago, Congress reauthorized the national flood insurance program through 2017. But in the process, a number of changes were made to make the program more financially sound. Many states that had little or no flooding were becoming more outspoken about taxpayers all over the country picking up the tab for the coastal states that often flood. Michigan Congresswoman, Candice Miller, who called for the program’s abolishment, was one of many outspoken critics. “The National Flood Program is a typical Washington boondoggle with an endless bureaucracy overseeing out of control spending.” She went on to say that since 1978, Michigan’s claims have totaled $45 million, as compared with $106 billion in Louisiana.
The new program caused rates to skyrocket along the Gulf Coast. As one can well imagine, the Louisiana congressional delegation, along with similar delegations all along the Gulf and East coasts, are screaming to high heaven, and demanding that the new program be delayed for another year. So how did all these members of congress, who are now in panic mode, vote on these increases last year? Every member of the Louisiana delegation, and virtually every senator and congressman along both coasts, voted for the new program and the huge rate increases. We often hear of how our representatives rarely read the laws they are voting for. This is certainly a classic example. Continue Reading……….