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Congress Heard You!

  • 300,000 REALTORS® Letters to Congress
  • 11,000 Phone calls to Members of Congress
  • Thousands of hours educating their staff
  • Hundreds of in-person meetings on Capitol Hill
  • Dozens of Media interviews and letters to the Editor
  • REALTOR® Testimony to the House of Representatives
  • Numerous irrefutable flood insurance examples
  • Emails, posts, tweets, texts, and so much more…

On March 21, 2014, the President signed into the law the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, HR 3370. The bill amends the 2012 Biggert-Waters law to resolve most of the unintended consequences from the scattershot implementation and adds new protections from exorbitant premium increases and wildly inaccurate rate quotes under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). For more, read NAR’s legislative analysis.

Now the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) must act quickly to issue new rules and procedures for flood insurance. It could take 8-16 months before property owners will see refunds and rate relief under 2014 Biggert-Waters amendments. While there simply was no way around a lengthier rulemaking process that involves refunds, NAR quickly pivoted to the law’s implementation within a few days of President Obama’s signature -- before the ink could even dry.

  • NAR President Steve Brown met with David Miller, FEMA’s associate head of NFIP, on April 1, 2014, and reinforced the urgent need for swift implementation.
  • Provided extensive comments in a March-24 letter regarding implementation of the most critical provisions to property owners and buyers.  
  • Urged FEMA to expedite the immediate rate relief for property buyers to begin assuming the seller’s current rates and prevent further exorbitant rate increases.
  • Stressed the urgency of the immediate homebuyer relief in remarks introduced into the Congressional Record.
  • Worked with members of Congress to question FEMA’s administrator about the flood insurance changes at a March-25 congressional hearing on the agency’s budget request.

At the March 25th congressional hearing, FEMA acknowledged that the refunds will take time.  In the interim, property buyers will be allowed to assume the seller’s current rate.

Public Law # 113-89 states:  “Assumption of Policies at Existing Premium Rates.--The Administrator shall provide that the purchaser of a property that, as of the date of such purchase, is covered under an existing flood insurance policy under this title may assume such existing policy and coverage for the remainder of the term of the policy at the chargeable premium rates under such existing policy. Such rates shall continue with respect to such property until the implementation of subsection (a).”

NAR Video: Listen to FEMA’s responses on refunds and what REALTORS® should tell their clients in the interim.

Read NAR’s updated legal guidance on what to disclose about flood insurance rates under the new law.

On April 4, FEMA issued a congressional advisory that “[property] purchaser will be allowed to assume the prior owner’s flood insurance policy and retain the same rates until [new rate tables are issued].”

On April 15, FEMA implemented the policy assumption provision in a WYO bulletin to insurance companies.

For immediate assistance with any implementation issues, contact FEMA's regional office and complete NAR's questionnaire.