Washington, D.C. – May 3, 2016 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Rep. Dennis A. Ross (R-FL-15), Senior Deputy Majority Whip, spoke on the House Floor this week before voting with his colleagues today to unanimously pass his legislation, H.R. 2901, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill that encourages the development of a robust private flood insurance market that can offer homeowners more options in terms of pricing and coverage.
This legislation further removes excessive restrictions placed on insurance companies by the federal government and gives states more flexibility to license and regulate private flood insurance. Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-FL-15) is an original co-sponsor of the bill, which passed out of the House Financial Services Committee with a bipartisan, unanimous vote on March 2, 2016. H.R. 2901 garnered 39 additional Republican and Democrat co-sponsors who represent nearly half of the U.S.
Click here to watch Ross’ Floor speech and floor debate, and here for Murphy’s Floor speech in support of H.R. 2901.
Ross’ Floor speech as prepared for delivery:
“Providing American homeowners and business owners more affordable consumer options in the flood insurance marketplace has been one of my top priorities since I was elected to represent Central Florida and the Tampa Bay region in our nation’s capital.
“Floridians and all Americans across the country would greatly benefit from more choices when it comes to flood insurance policies, and private competition in this market will lead to greater innovation and more affordable and comprehensive policies for consumers.
“Unfortunately, we have seen floods devastate communities across the country in recent years. Most recently in Houston, and just last August in my very own congressional district, every state and every congressional district is at risk. With hurricane season a few weeks away from beginning, it is time for Congress to take action to benefit and better protect consumers.
“Regulatory barriers and the bias of regulators favoring National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies have prevented the development of a private flood insurance marketplace. This was not the intention of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act; rather, it was an unintended consequence.
“With that in mind, I worked with my colleague from across the aisle, Representative Patrick Murphy, to introduce H.R. 2901, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act. This bipartisan legislation will remove the unnecessary regulatory barriers that are hindering consumers’ flood insurance options.
“Specifically, this legislation would require federal agencies to accept private flood insurance that complies with the laws and regulations of the state of an insured property.
“Under current law, consumers are limited to the coverage options provided by the NFIP. For example, an NFIP policy only covers up to $250,000 in damages related to a residential home. Also, NFIP policies do not cover homeowners’ living expenses, such as temporary housing, if they are displaced by a flood. In the case of a business, an NFIP policy does not provide coverage for the financial losses suffered by businesses as result of a flood.
“While the NFIP is limited in what its policies cover, the private sector is not.
“The private sector is also in a better position to provide stronger incentives for property owners to invest in mitigation and resiliency. Ultimately, this increased emphasis on mitigation will benefit homeowners and taxpayers alike.
“The Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act encourages the development of a robust private flood insurance market that can offer property owners multiple options in terms of pricing and coverage. Ultimately, the consumer is the benefactor of increased competition and options in this market.
“I want to take a moment to thank Chairman Hensarling and my Subcommittee Chairman Blaine Luetkemeyer for their support of this legislation and their leadership on this important issue. I want to also thank Ranking Member Waters for working with me through this entire process. I greatly appreciate your assistance, as do the residents of my home state of Florida.
“This legislation is supported by a number of stakeholders, from the Realtors, to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, to a broad based coalition of taxpayer advocates, environmental groups, housing organizations and mitigation advocates.
“On March 2, 2016, this legislation passed out of the House Financial Services Committee by a vote of 53-0. With such strong bipartisan support, I am encouraged Congress is taking an important step on behalf of consumers in Florida and across the country.
“With that, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in enacting this commonsense bipartisan legislation that will encourage the expansion of well-regulated, more affordable, private flood insurance options for homeowners.”