Homeowners who live in areas prone to flooding will continue to have the government subsidize their insurance premiums thanks to legislation that has become law.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 306 to 91 on March 5.
Then, on March 13, the Senate passed the bill by a vote of 77 to 22 — leaving it up to President Barack Obama to sign the legislation.
The bill is designed to offset the impact from the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 that sent insurance premiums skyrocketing for some homeowners.
The earlier law was enacted to salvage the National Flood Insurance Program, which is $24 billion in debt.
On Friday, Obama signed the latest bill, according to the White House, drawing immediate praise from the Independent Community Bankers of America.
“Fortunately, ICBA’s efforts and the voices of the nation’s community bankers were heard in Washington,” ICBA President and Chief Executive Officer Camden R. Fine said in a written statement. “ICBA thanks policymakers for their bipartisan fix to mitigate devastating rate increases that would have further harmed our still-recovering housing market.”
Still, community bankers say they are concerned about the impact of higher premiums on commercial properties, which will continue to face rate hikes.