Submitted to the Wall Street Journal
Contrary to the Wall Street Journal’s insistence that only billionaires with oceanfront mansions have a need for flood insurance, even middle-class homeowners in landlocked, mile-high Colorado are required to keep flood insurance coverage on any designated property financed through a government-backed mortgage.
In a December 2 editorial, “Flooding Taxpayers Again – A bipartisan caucus wants to keep subsidies flowing to the 1%,” the author mischaracterizes the National Flood Insurance Program as a taxpayer-funded piggybank that only gets smashed when the very rich get bombarded during the rainy season; that’s simply untrue. RAND Corporation recently looked at data from Superstorm Sandy and found that the majority of homeowners living in higher-risk areas actually earn less than $100,000 a year.
Here in Colorado, where we are still rebuilding homes and highways from the disastrous flood in September, and sudden flood insurance rate increases are a serious problem for homeowners. We need the NFIP and we need it to last for years to come. Right now though, the unintentional and exponential rate increases that resulted from the Biggert-Waters legislation need to be delayed until FEMA can resolve confusion about the new policies, complete an affordability study, and report back to Congress with proposals to relieve cost burdens on lower-income families.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act is about maintaining access for the middle class who cannot afford private flood insurance. It deserves our support.