WWL>Topics>>11-21 10:30am Garland, Flood Rate Hikes

11-21 10:30am Garland, Flood Rate Hikes

Nov 21, 2013|

Thousands of Louisiana homeowners, who are threatened with losing their homes due to huge increases in flood insurance rates, are facing troubling signs from Congress. An effort to delay the increases hit a roadblock--Finance committee members are against it. If the increases stay, can you or your business stay in south Louisiana? Garland was joined by Caitlin Berni of GNO, INC.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

Welcome backward we're continuing -- composition which ultimately is one of the moved on important arms solutions we're gonna have in the next. Year in the coming months. We're we're talking about the 2012. Bigger waters flood insurance reform. Basically what it is -- everything memory is correct. In. And there are flood insurance program is about 25 billion dollars in the wrist and the insurance program itself. Collects about three and have billions in premium each year. But during the says one and a half a billion more. Is required to we've got. Putting five billion in debt and growing with -- would reduce it to that point. So. Bitter waters came up with a plan of okay it would we've got to put money in this. Team upon the one true and on. And no way to condone it is raised rates on those. -- in the most dangerous terrorist. Well our congressional. Delegation obviously sees this could affect thousands and easier means not only. Homes and businesses and that's. Real dollars threat to our office here in Louisiana and the Gulf Coast and I think people just realism around the country. So what he was gonna senators tried to do is prudent in to -- four year delay. Reprieve would take a hard look at it. But there's a delegation in congress. Are growing in numbers that are fighting that. And then we've got. Some Republican delegations basically saying they. Were for. Small government. This is a program. In his case study. What happens -- Washington. Takes where government sponsored benefit. That helps a relatively small group of people who have very complicated and it's a huge threat. Junior knowing Michael -- in particular -- Director funeral when. Has been Washington. Testifying in prone congressional delegations. And they're doing probably as much of anybody about more tournaments then turned around we have -- Bernie Williams. Director of external appearance in June when Caitlin welcomed should. Sure and thank you Garland I appreciate the opportunity -- ensure that what you guys are doing before assortment questions just give. The audience may do little history of this all came about and what you see now supports currency. Absolutely so. Last July June and July 2012 congress passed a full reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program. Something that was very critical since Hurricane Katrina there have been seventeen. Short term lapses of the federal flood insurance program and it was. Forcing a real estate closures to be put on hold and it's truly a problem so they re authorized the program for a full five years as a part of the -- -- act. Unfortunately -- say it included two sections and not law. That included premium rate increases and some that I -- be clear about I don't think anybody disagrees with paying a little bit more. You certainly -- position is that. We want to the program to the actual wearily responsible and sound and we want to have for rates for our citizens and for policyholders. That reflect two brisk but the rates are overseen come out from insurance companies in from the right Iran companies who service the program for FEMA. Are threatening people out of their homes and the businesses in this with the results of their -- -- a keen. Is a law last July so. Unfortunately. I think. What happens it's a great example of unintended consequences when congress when they -- they expected rates go up about 200%. But we're seeing rates on go up from about 2000 to 3000%. For people here in Louisiana who did everything right who played by the rules who -- does the government told them. And had no reasonable expectation. When they entered into their mortgage that it would. Drastically increase liked best. So I'm -- week has been leading in national coalition. We've got about thirty states on board and 200 business civic and trade associations and local governments from around the country. Who all share our view that we should make the flood insurance program sound but that we've got to do in a way that protect homes and businesses oftentimes. Everyone's greatest investment life. Huge escalation and a lot of people flood insurance for its own business and -- rumors here and Louisiana we've Caitlin. Bernard -- who's director of external affairs you week. You guys -- hearing what what. Source though. On Tuesday Michael packed our president and CEO testified. Before the house financial services committee which is the committee of jurisdiction in Washington DC. On the affordability of flood insurance and the implementation of the mortars and -- and and I have to say that overall tone of the hearing was very positive we had Democrats and Republicans from. West Virginia to Missouri to New York to California saying this is a problem and it's a problem from my district. It was way beyond -- -- an issue which is something that we've been very cognizant to paint this -- you know broader than just the Louisiana as human impact very much is a national issue. So like -- said that overall tone of the hearing was a very positive and momentum is surely on our side. And there are some members I believe coming out of that hearing that illustrated tell us that they are still -- need for education and about the affordability challenges that are being presented to homeowners and business -- and so. We are continuing to build our coalition and to bring on board their states where we had identified that there are greater rate increases. But we're also working to educate those members of the financial services committee who just don't have the confidence yet that this is more than just. -- FX second homeowners and -- Front properties that's been. The big misperception is that this program really subsidizes the wealthy and vacation homeowners. And we know for a fact that this is working class people on the coast middle class homeowners and their primary residences they're going to be forced out. If we don't get affordable flood insurance. So this is important so compute and you Michael and Gardner's. When -- -- working here and talking to some problems senators congressmen hole and you say. New Jersey it's a -- property that is Luc are people. And there's there's millions of people affected all along that you floor Gulf Coast. Rivers and Colorado and you were talking about Mercury. What they say when you say. This affects millions. -- -- constituents. And it's a no brainer if you shut down businesses and homes. You can record on somebody's say in response. Well I think it's been you know like us that it's truly been an education effort we had six panelists on the panel that Michael -- while. And we were able to work directly with two panelists that we knew we expected to be against our position and were able to neutralize them is to educate them and even folks to. It fought hard for this legislation be passed and still one -- implemented. Acknowledged that there's an affordability crisis here on our hands and that we need to do something about it. I'll system directly with them the staff members at the committee following the hearing and they acknowledged that they wanna get something through. On that deals with affordability so I think there's a growing recognition and there's growing awareness that this is huge challenge -- that something needs to be done. Whether that's -- means some type -- means testing an affordability cap. Something that we get. Don and I think we've got a really good chance now with a four year delay. That's being proposed in congress can give us a good chance to run out the clock on the current authorization of the program. And give us a chance to really worked together with industry stakeholders with communities in with congress to get a permanent solution to affordability for flood insurance. A good run for congress I have high school degree. Understood this and about ten minutes is it's it's not rocket. These people can afford. The please you're gonna have millions of home 400000. -- shut down and businesses. I know you don't have numbers and trivia prima we drove all -- but this could conceivably. Affect. Hundreds of thousands of homeowners in Louisiana and tens of thousands of businesses apps that exaggeration. I don't think that's an exaggeration at all there's about 480000. Policies in Louisiana currently. But we're seeing based on the preliminary flood maps. That have been rolled out across coastal Louisiana. More and more homes that are never in a flood zone are now in mandatory purchase requirements. So those folks are going to be required to to purchase flood insurance. Oftentimes at these exorbitant rates and so I think we're gonna see the program expand significantly. Over the next five years as communities have to work with FEMA to adopt those maps which often triggered -- services. Yes I am do we -- on Monday fonts and his brief in support of Mississippi's lawsuit which was found about six weeks ago. Mississippi filed a lawsuit against -- Stating that since they had not completed the affordability study that was a part in the deeper waters act. That they were out of compliance with the law by implementing rate increases to Mississippi's got their lead they -- lawsuit underway. In Florida Alabama and we've Deanna as well as South Carolina have all filed and the -- brief which is essentially. -- a brief filed in federal court that is in support of Mississippi's arguments in a police Massachusetts is going to be filing a similar grief as well so. There's growing momentum on the legal front as well. And you know we can been around for awhile and commute is always a nice organization or neuter my tournament. Since you and Michael acting crew -- ward. Your dreams from remarkable things and and I think. Don't people sitting -- pulled from a bogey loose with the sort of with the sudden put me. Are you let people start losing their homes and businesses. Their rage or gore all of our rates are gonna go up and goal line -- and Michael in the roof should be doing. Is extraordinary. And -- appears successful thank you we love to have you back on the show -- up wars disposal absolutely think all of Robin we call it that they think will be back.