Cassidy, Gillibrand Release National Flood Insurance Extension Draft Legislation for Comment | U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana

Modernizing Flood Mapping and Flood Risk Accuracy 

  • Reauthorizes the National Flood Mapping Program. With nearly 3 million miles of unidentified flood hazard areas; along with the need to update and accurately assess risk of existing flood zones; the National Flood Mapping Program shall be reauthorized at a funding level of $500 million annually.
  • Provides Mapping Standards and Guidelines for Nongovernmental Entities. Authorize the Technical Mapping Advisory Council (TMAC) to develop map standards for FEMA and non-government entities, thereby giving communities additional avenues to streamline the FEMA mapping process and develop maps that use updated community data & technology.
  • Encourages the Use of High-Resolution Mapping Technology.  Instructs FEMA to facilitate, partner, and leverage current high resolution topographic data (e.g., Light Detection and Ranging [LiDAR] data, or other new and emerging technologies) in the development of flood insurance rate maps.
  • Improves the Flood Mapping of Levee-Protected Areas. FEMA shall replace its “Zone D” designation (defined as an area of undetermined/undefined risk) in levee-protected areas with risk zones that are more appropriate for the level of protection that the flood mitigation features affords. Often, premiums in Zone D are higher than in low/moderate risk zones.

 

Enhancing National Flood Insurance Program Transparency and Accountability

  • Institutes Deadlines for NFIP Claims Determinations. Requires NFIP administrators to make determinations on flood claims within 30 days of the initial filing, followed by any payment owed under the claim.

 

  • Strengthens Consumer Advocacy During a Claims Appeal Process. The duties and responsibilities of the Flood Insurance Advocate, created as part of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act, is expanded to provide a direct point of contact for policyholders to discuss the status of their claim appeals and the basis of the decision to initially deny their claims.
  • Increases Accountability of NFIP Contractors. Requires FEMA to conduct yearly reviews of all private entities that are participating in the National Flood Insurance Program that provide services related to policies or claims, including adjusting, engineering and legal services. The purpose of the reviews is to ensure that contractors are complying with all policies and procedures to protect policyholders and prevent fraud. 
  • Simplifies the NFIP Claims Appeals Process: Require the claim appeals process to have clear rules, forms, and deadlines to that are communicated to claimants at the time a claim is initially denied in full or in part.   

For a full summary of the bill, click here[1].

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