Green Provision Included in Final Flood Buyout Bill
June 21, 2004
Washington, DC - Congress today approved the final Congressional passage of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2003 (S. 2238), which included a provision authored by Rep. Gene Green. The Green provision requires FEMA to offer homeowners a fair price when buying out homes of those with repeat flood insurance claims. Under the new law, refusal of a buyout or mitigation offer results in at least 50% higher insurance premiums.
In Houston and Harris County there are over 172,000 homes and businesses with National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies in and over 37% of the 461,000 policies statewide. NFIP policies are issued by private insurers and are backed by the federal government due to the unavailability of private flood insurance. H.R. 2238 also extends this federal backing of the NFIP by 4 more years until September 2008.
In 2001, during the Tropical Storm Allison buyouts in Houston, FEMA scrambled to find funding from HUD programs and other sources because fair market value offers sometimes did not enable flood victims to purchase a comparable home outside the flood plain, said Green.
The Green provision requires FEMA to offer additional funds if a purchase offer made under [this law] is less than the cost of the homeowner-occupant to purchase a comparable replacement dwelling outside the flood hazard area in the same community, the Director [of FEMA] shall make available an additional relocation payment to the homeowner-occupant to apply to the difference. [S. 2238 Section 102 (g)4]
I am pleased this legislation included our provision to give flood victims the right price for their home, added Green. This buyout system became inevitable this year, so I made them fairer. We need to help folks avoid floods, not punish them.