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Bill to delay flood insurance hikes could pass Senate soon

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GRAND FORKS — A bill that would relieve homeowners and businesses from drastic increases in flood insurance payments could pass the Senate next week.

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U.S. Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., said Thursday that the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act will arrive on the Senate floor Monday and he’s hoping to pass it by the end of the week.

“I believe we have 60-plus votes,” Hoeven said at a meeting with the Grand Forks Herald’s editorial board. “But nothing’s done until it’s done.”

The bill would delay massive flood insurance rate hikes that occurred during the fall as a result of 2012 reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program. Some new homeowners in places like Grafton, most of which lies within the 100-year floodplain, saw drastic hikes, while others saw more gradual increases.

Hoeven, a co-sponsor of the bill, visited Grafton on Thursday.

The 2012 reforms passed under the Biggert-Waters Insurance Reform Act requires the Federal Emergency Management Agency to adjust rates to accurately reflect risk. But Hoeven said FEMA has been doing so in a “one size fits all” fashion.

U.S. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., met with Ward County officials Thursday to discuss rising flood insurance rates, according to a news release.

“Folks in Minot and Ward County are rightly concerned that wrongheaded flood insurance policies are having a devastating impact on North Dakota families,” Heitkamp said in a statement. “Not only are these hikes hurting the bottom lines of many North Dakotans, they may force many to go without flood insurance.”

Heitkamp is also a co-sponsor of the flood insurance bill, which requires FEMA to conduct an affordability study before raising rates.

The bill also includes a bill authored by Hoeven and Heitkamp that ensures homeowners will receive credit for flood-proofing their basements when determining insurance rates.

Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., is a co-sponsor of the House companion bill.

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John Hageman
John Hageman covers local business and Grand Forks' legislative delegation. Get more business news at aroundtown.areavoices.com. 
(701) 780-1244
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