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Flood Insurance Rate Uncertainty Has Far-reaching Effects on Real Estate Market

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Panelists told attendees that under the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, homeowners could save $75,000 or more over 10 years if they build three feet above base flood elevation. Panelists also encouraged policy holders to talk to an insurance agent about their options and to obtain an elevation certificate.

NAR is a strong supporter of the NFIP and believes it is critically important to Americans and the nation’s economy since it increases the number of self-insured properties and reduces the cost of post-flood disaster governmental assistance. However, due to the unprecedented scope of premium increases, NAR recommends that FEMA take interim measures to ensure that the NFIP continues on a path towards financial solvency and actuarial responsibility without damaging the real estate recovery.

In addition to delaying future premium increases until FEMA submits its affordability study, NAR recommends that FEMA issue proposed regulations for installment payments and appeals reimbursement; and that FEMA work to improve and publicize the Community Rating System program, which encourages community floodplain management activities that exceed NFIP’s minimum requirements, and rewards participating communities with lower premiums.

Other NAR recommendations include streamlining and improving the process for obtaining property elevation certificates, and improving and publicizing information and education resources for consumers, real estate agents, lenders, and insurers, among others.

NAR also calls on FEMA to convene a summit about the impact of premium increases on property owners. At the summit, industry experts could develop valuable recommendations for how FEMA could minimize the impact of future premium increases, strategize ways to help property owners and communities lower their rates, and discuss ways the real estate industry can partner with FEMA on those efforts.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

For more information, visit www.realtor.org.

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