Birmingham Renters and Homeowners Could See Lower Flood Insurance Premiums

If a bill currently in Congress makes its way through to President Obama, homeowners in Birmingham could see some relief when it comes to flood insurance premiums. The bill – a measure that would delay or outright repeal key sections of the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 – would work to lower flood insurance premiums that have been steadily increasing for the past two years for flood-prone areas. It recently passed the House of Representatives and will go before the Senate. The Senate has already passed its own version and would likely fight to heavily change the version passed by the House. If any version of the bill eventually passes and is signed into law then flood insurance premiums could fall. While the main proponents of the bill live in low-lying areas of Florida, Alabama, and other coastal states, there are communities in the metro Birmingham area who could benefit. Already, rates have risen by as much as 20 percent for some constituents, a pace that would continue for a few more years unless something is done to check the pace. The bill still has its opponents, who argue that it undoes the spending cuts enacted by the first bill in 2012 and goes against small government principles. Homeowners who have to pay 20 percent more for flood insurance, though, don’t see it that way; they see it as relief for their bank accounts. One major part of the relief would be in the form of refunds for people who have had their rates increased as a result of a home purchase or sale. There could also be subsidies for Birmingham renters or homeowners who find themselves in need of affordable flood insurance. A composite bill should be debated in committees between the House and Senate and sent to President Obama before the beginning of summer.