Curbelo: With Sea Level Rise a Concern, Flood Insurance Re-Authorization Must Account for South Florida’s Needs

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Washington, D.C., July 18, 2017 | Joanna Rodriguez (202-225-2778) | comments

Representative Carlos Curbelo joined “Morning Magazine with Bill Becker” to discuss his concerns with the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) re-authorization package recently passed by the House Financial Services Committee and his efforts to ensure South Florida property owners will be fairly treated under any re-authorization proposals that go to the House floor.

 

As was reported by Politico Pro yesterday, Curbelo joined 25 other Republicans in a letter to House leadership expressing their dissatisfaction with the package of flood insurance bills that were passed out of the House Financial Services Committee.

 

“So the Chairman of the Committee and the Chairman of the subcommittee are making modifications, they’re making concessions, they’re listening to us, but I don’t know yet that I’ll be able to support the final product,” Curbelo said.

 

With NFIP set to expire later this year, Curbelo has been working diligently to ensure South Florida’s needs are met in the NFIP re-authorization. Curbelo has introduced bipartisan legislation to extend NFIP protections to include commercial properties and rental properties, in addition to the primary residences already covered. Additionally, Curbelo and Representative Ted Deutch (FL-22) made flood insurance the focus of a bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus meeting, which included testimony from Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers on the impact rising sea levels will have on flood insurance in the Florida Keys.

 

A partial transcript of the interview can be found below. Audio of the full interview is available here. Curbelo’s comments about NFIP re-authorization begin at 4:05.

 

 

Curbelo Discusses NDAA Climate Victory, Flood Insurance Re-Authorization on “Morning Magazine with Bill Becker”

U.S. 1 Radio News 104.1 FM

July 18, 2017

https://youtu.be/jfVCOQm1edQ

 

U.S. 1 Radio News’ Bill Becker: “Meanwhile the National Flood Insurance Program is up for re-authorization this year. Recently a bunch of flood insurance bills passed through the House Financial Services Committee. You expressed some concerns about this. Tell us what some of those concerns are.”

 

Representative Carlos Curbelo: “Yeah. My concerns are the premium increases, some of the rules they want to change on grandfathering.

 

“Look, there are two problems here. Number one: Yes, the National Flood Insurance Program is insolvent, it is running a deficit every year. That has to change. We have to figure that out because like any other government program, like any household in our country, the NFIP should be able to balance its books and run a solvent operation.

 

“The other issue we have is that there are areas like the Florida Keys and the Tampa Bay area as well, and many others throughout the country, that are facing a very serious affordable housing crisis. The cost of living is just too high. Now we are having growth in the Florida Keys, we have full employment – and that’s a good thing –  but the problem is a lot of small businesses can’t find people to work.

 

“So this is a major challenge we have and we have to balance these two issues that we’re facing – the insolvency of the program while at the same time being sensitive to areas like the Florida Keys. Something that I continue insisting upon, and I know it’s going to be tough, but I’d like to see NFIP protections extended to not just primary homes, but also commercial properties and rental properties. We know for a fact that would help alleviate the affordable housing challenge we have in the Florida Keys. Now if we can’t get that, we at least really want to slow down the rate of premium increases because we know it will only exacerbate the problem we have.

 

“So the Chairman of the Committee and the Chairman of the subcommittee are making modifications, they’re making concessions, they’re listening to us, but I don’t know yet that I’ll be able to support the final product.”

 

 

Curbelo: “Now, we continue trying to move toward the solvency of the NFIP, but those of us who come from the areas that would be most affected are pushing back a little and saying, ‘Sure, we want to get to solvency, but we can’t do it by putting these onerous premium increases and other fees on our constituents because it’s just not fair.’  

 

“Add to the fact that in Florida, we’ve gone a long way since 1992 toward strengthening our building codes and making sure our properties are resilient, thus limiting risk. So we, a donor state to the NFIP, should especially not be saddled with the burden of bringing this program to solvency. The risk should be spread out more. We have been calling for better maps. The Florida delegation has because we know there are many other properties in the country which sit on flood plains and yet are not part of the NFIP.

 

“So all of that has to be part of the solution, not simply drastically raising premiums on those already in the program.”

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