Proposed Overhaul of Federal Flood Insurance Program Would See Premiums Skyrocket for New Homes in Coastal Areas
Another proposal submitted to lawmakers by the Biden administration would establish new disclosure laws that would force sellers or landlords to disclose a property’s history of flooding before a sale or lease agreement is signed, as well as forbid the government from issuing flood insurance for commercial buildings regardless of where they are or when they were built.
A policy director at the libertarian-leaning R Street Institute in Washington, D.C., Jerry Theodorou, called the changes being proposed by the administration “transformational.”
“I was quite surprised,” Mr. Theodorou said. The former insurance industry executive who now heads the think tank’s Finance, Insurance and Trade Program will be testifying on the topic Thursday before the U.S. Senate’s Banking Committee, which has legislative oversight of the program.
“What’s in this bill is even stronger than what people like me are advocating,” he said. “The first words that came to my mind were ‘bold and ambitious.’”
The challenge, he added, will be getting it past Congress, which has blocked similar efforts in the past.
“There are people in Congress who don’t want to move an inch, much less a hundred yards,” he said.
Critics of the program have long charged that it amounts to a taxpayer subsidy for expensive waterfront homes. Previous attempts to change it have met stiff resistance particularly from legislators in New England and Southeastern and Gulf Coast states with substantially developed coastlines.