Palazzo campaigns to keep flood insurance rates from spiking
By Cassandra Favre
Aug 24, 2013, 00:17
Mississippi Gulf Coast homeowners are facing potentially overwhelming rate increases in the National Flood Insurance Program in coming months.
On Wednesday, U.S. Rep. Steven Palazzo met with Pass Christian homeowner Bo Sager and her daughter Diane at their home on Third Street.
The new flood insurance map puts them in a more hazardous zone, which will result in a costly spike to their flood insurance.
On June 5, Palazzo and representatives Cassidy, Grimm and Richmond announced passage of an amendment to the FY14 Homeland Security Appropriations bill that would delay scheduled increases to flood insurance rates by blocking the implementation of Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act.
"The passage of this amendment is an enormous victory for the Mississippi Gulf Coast," Palazzo said. "Thousands of people who built back after Hurricane Katrina and those now building back after Hurricane Sandy are facing steep flood insurance rate increases under current law.
"While we must ensure the flood insurance program remains fiscally solvent, we must do so in a compassionate way that doesn't penalize those who have followed the rules.
"This amendment would provide time for FEMA to study the affordability of flood insurance program changes, providing much-needed relief for homeowners and businesses across the Gulf Coast."
Palazzo brought FEMA's Associate Administrator for the Federal Insurance Mitigation Administration David Miller with him to the Sager's home to view first-hand how flood insurance rates are affecting homeowners.
"We rebuilt compliant with FEMA, and now we are being punished for doing everything right," Sager's daughter Diane said. "Currently our insurance is about $500 dollars and I'm expecting a rate increase to $7,000 that is just going to make it hard for anybody to live."
"We live on a fixed income and if we lose this house and don't have coverage, we've lost everything," Bo Sager told Palazzo and Miller.
"That's one of our number one priorities is making sure that the insurance remains affordable," Palazzo said. "It's unfair that when you play by the rules, re-build back to code and are compliant and then have to keep catching up.
"It's a huge emotional burden and that's why I think there's such a huge appetite to solve this in a compassionate way as soon as possible."
"We're being punished for bringing our community back," Diane Sager said. Palazzo and Miller visited other properties along the Coast and met with other city leaders regarding flood insurance on Wednesday.