Flood Bill Passes House and Senate

Yesterday, following the March 4th House-passage of H.R. 3370 of flood insurance legislation, the Senate passed (72-22) the same measure, finalizing the changes to the National Flood Insurance Program aimed at addressing some of the "unintended consequences" resulting from the implementation of Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Act of 2012 (BW12) legislation. This Act reforms BW12 and reverses several key provisions of that 2012 law. The bill, H.R. 3370 (Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014) as passed by the House and Senate will now be sent to the President for signature and enactment. If the President does not sign the bill within 10 business days, it will become law.

H.R. 3370 specifies timetables for implementation of these reforms. It is likely that any H.R. 3370 reforms will take at least a year or more to be implemented. Keep in mind that while BW12 was enacted in July 2012, the first provisions wasn't implemented until October 2013. For the foreseeable future, the Write Your Own companies (WYO) will continue to operate under BW12. Nothing will change until FEMA issues rules, regulations and interpretations.

Some of the key pieces to H.R. 3370 that were included in the final legislation are:
1. FEMA/NFIP directly providing refunds to policyholders; and
2. FEMA/NFIP required to involve the WYO insurers throughout the process of implementing this legislation.
There is a summary of the bill available here and you can read the full text of the bill here.
It should be noted that as a condition of the Senate voting on H.R. 3370, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) reached an agreement with Senator Lee (R-UT) to hold a vote on a completely separate and new measure, S. 2137, which was introduced today. S. 2137 reportedly would prohibit any refunds, as required under H.R. 3370, to policyholders with second homes. The Senate passed S. 2137 by voice vote. It is unclear if the House will take up this new measure.