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Senator Cassidy Discusses Flood Insurance Affordability in New Orleans

METAIRIE – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) participated in a roundtable hosted by Greater New Orleans (GNO), Inc. and the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance on addressing Risk Rating 2.0 and making flood insurance affordable. He announced he will soon be reintroducing bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years and reform the program for long-term viability.

“The high cost of flood insurance hurts everyone, but especially working families along our coast,” said Dr. Cassidy.“This is a human problem, not just an actuarial one. We need to pass legislation that keeps rates low and FEMA accountable.”

Cassidy’s NFIP Reauthorization and Reform Act improves the accountability, affordability, and sustainability of the NFIP. The bill will also place guardrails on FEMA’s new Risk Rating 2.0 system that stands to drastically increase Americans’ flood insurance premiums.

Risk Rating 2.0 increases premiums for almost 80% of policyholders and could push as many as 900,000 to cancel their flood insurance coverage, including about 100,000 in Louisiana. Additionally, an internal FEMA study shows that Risk Rating 2.0 could cause 20% of policyholders to drop out of the NFIP.

In addition to his recent legislation, Cassidy delivered a speech on the Senate floor demanding the Biden administration halt massive hikes to NFIP premiums caused by Risk Rating 2.0. He criticized FEMA for its lack of transparency and responsiveness, given its failure to respond to his October 2021 request for a briefing to discuss NFIP and Risk Rating 2.0. Last year, he introduced the Flood Insurance Pricing Transparency Act, which would require FEMA to disclose the formulas used to calculate mitigation credits for policyholders under Risk Rating 2.0.

Numerous civic and business leaders were present at the roundtable. Cassidy was also welcomed by Mr. Michael Hecht, President and CEO of GNO.

“The Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance commends Senator Cassidy for confronting Risk Rating 2.0’s burden on Louisianans, as well as communities and economies across the country,” said Mr. Hecht. “Senator Cassidy is a consistent champion of smart, sensible NFIP reauthorization with reform. Now, with Risk Rating 2.0’s consequences being more widely appreciated, CSFI and Senator Cassidy agree that NFIP reauthorization must occur urgently and concurrently with reform. Reform should prioritize transparency provisions – like a public-facing rate calculator and an appeals process – and affordability provisions – like a means-tested program and debt forbearance. Furthermore, considering Senator Cassidy’s leadership in infrastructure investment, it’s critical that authorized projects and programs are properly reflected in Risk Rating 2.0. The methodology should appropriately respect public and private investments that further mitigation, from home elevations to flood protection.”


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