In Advance of Committee Vote, ABA Shares Views on Flood Insurance Bills

While the American Bankers Association supports the broader legislative effort to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program and several specific bills, the association today expressed “grave concerns” over certain provisions in the legislative package that the House Financial Services Committee is set to vote on starting tomorrow.

Specifically, ABA opposed Section 505 in H.R. 2874, which would drop NFIP coverage for any properties with lifetime claims exceeding twice the replacement cost of the property. “As borrowers lose NFIP coverage, and especially if alternative private coverage is not available or affordable, these properties will lose value and the risk of abandonment and/or foreclosure increases dramatically,” ABA said. “In some flood prone communities, this could lead to [a]local or regional foreclosure crisis.”

ABA also opposed a provision that would more than double penalties for non-compliance by lenders, which could drive smaller banks out of the mortgage market, and cautioned that another provision on procedures for monthly premium payments must be implemented in a way that aligns with industry practices on escrows and lender-placed insurance.

ABA expressed support for several other bills under consideration tomorrow, including H.R. 1422, which would encourage development of a robust private flood insurance market as an alternative to NFIP; H.R. 2246, which would enable the NFIP to engage in private-sector risk transfer deals and would allow the development of private or community flood maps as an alternative to NFIP’s outdated maps; and H.R. 2565, which would require the NFIP to study how it uses replacement cost in setting premiums. ABA also expressed support for several provisions in H.R. 2875.

The NFIP’s current reauthorization expires on Sept. 30, and both houses of Congress are working on legislative packages. ABA is working with senators and representatives in both parties to balance affordability and sustainability concerns for borrowers and to ensure that the Federal Emergency Management Agency collaborates with regulators to provide banks with the tools and guidance they need to comply.