GNO, Inc.’s Berni Testifies Before U.S. House On NFIP Reauthorization
NEW ORLEANS – Caitlin Berni, Greater New Orleans, Inc.’s (GNO, Inc.) vice president of Policy and Communications, testified Wednesday, June 7, on behalf of the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance (CSFI) before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on the House legislative proposals and other policy priorities that should be included in the reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program.
“While we support several provisions in the House package, we are concerned that the committee’s approach on several provisions may result in some of the same unintended consequences, primarily around affordability and sustainability, that arose during the implementation of the Biggert-Waters Act,” said Berni. “It is in the national interest to recognize that many communities exposed to flood risk are hubs of energy production, trade, finance, agriculture and other nationally-significant economic and defense activities. Affordable and sustainable flood insurance is an integral component of ensuring these communities are able to continue their vital contributions to America.”
GNO, Inc. reps said some top concerns with the House package include:
• Increasing rates and surcharges
• Alterations to grandfathering
• Lack of funding for mitigation
There are four primary policy areas CSFI has focused on that were highlighted in testimony, which are denoted by the acronym “MMAP”:
• Mitigation – A comprehensive approach to reducing flood losses before a disaster occurs is a more effective means to reducing economic loss and protecting taxpayer interests, than ejecting households and businesses from NFIP via unaffordable flood insurance premiums.
• Mapping – Enhancing the way we assess and communicate risk through improvements to the mapping process will protect communities and the NFIP over the long-term.
• Affordability – Premiums must remain affordable in order to keep communities across America economically viable.
• Program Participation – Adopting policies that encourage more people to buy flood insurance will help to bring the program’s costs in line with revenues in a responsible way and help communities recover more quickly following a flood event.
A copy of Berni’s written testimony, which details positions on the House proposals and offers additional suggestions for consideration, can be found here.
GNO, Inc. has led the CSFI, a national alliance of approximately 250 organizations across 35 states. CSFI was formed in the wake of the implementation of the Biggert-WatersAct, when homeowners across the nation were facing skyrocketing rate increases through a combination of the removal of grandfathering and new maps, which often times were inaccurate. CSFI was a driving force behind the passage of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HFIAA), which was signed into law in March 2014, GNO, Inc. reps said. The NFIP must be authorized before Sept. 30.