Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:
Reported to House with amendment(s) (09/11/2017)

21st Century Flood Reform Act

TITLE I--POLICYHOLDER PROTECTIONS AND INFORMATION

(Sec. 101) This bill amends the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 to change annual limits on premium increases for insurance obtained through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

(Sec. 102) The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) must provide financial assistance through state programs for low income families to purchase NFIP insurance.

(Sec. 103) FEMA must publish an annual explanation of flood insurance premiums and hold public meetings.

(Sec. 104) FEMA must incorporate in premium rates the differences in coastal and riverine (inland) flood risk.

(Sec. 105) FEMA's implementation of monthly premium payment schedules is exempted from rulemaking. FEMA may implement this schedule as a pilot program.

(Sec. 106) FEMA must clearly communicate to policyholders their property's full flood risk, the history of flood claims on their property, and the effect of filing further claims.

(Sec. 107) FEMA must make data on historical claims, required coverage, and previous damage available to the current owner of the property within 30 days of a request.

(Sec. 108) State or local governments must require a seller or lessor to disclose to a purchaser or lessee any previous flood damage or flood insurance claims, and any obligation to purchase flood insurance. This requirement, whether by statute or regulation, must be adopted for the area to qualify for participation in NFIP.

(Sec. 109) FEMA may create a community-wide flood insurance pilot program that covers all residential and non-residential properties and satisfies the mandatory purchase requirement. (Federal agencies that oversee mortgage lending must mandate the purchase of flood insurance for properties located in special flood hazard areas.)

(Sec. 110) NFIP is extended through FY2022.

TITLE II--INCREASING CONSUMER CHOICE THROUGH PRIVATE MARKET DEVELOPMENT

(Sec. 201) FEMA must allow a Write Your Own company to sell private flood insurance. (A Write Your Own company writes and services federal standard flood insurance policies in its own name.)

(Sec. 202) FEMA must provide data related to NFIP risks and premiums, including community-level data, through a publicly available data system.

(Sec. 203) If an NFIP policyholder switches to private flood insurance during the NFIP coverage period, FEMA must refund any unused NFIP premium. Properties that have received a claim payment for that period or Increased Cost of Compliance mitigation assistance are not eligible for a refund.

(Sec. 204) Mutual aid societies may sell private flood insurance, subject to state law. (A mutual aid society is an organization of members who share a common set of ethical or religious beliefs.) This coverage satisfies the mandatory purchase requirement.

(Sec. 205) The Government Accountability Office (GAO) must report on the feasibility of reducing flood insurance premiums and eliminating the need for flood insurance coverage by authorizing flood damage savings accounts.

(Sec. 206) If determined feasible by the GAO, FEMA must establish a demonstration program for flood damage savings accounts.

TITLE III--MAPPING FAIRNESS

(Sec. 301) In establishing premium rates, FEMA must use, in part, applicable flood insurance rate maps and other appropriate risk assessment models, data, and tools.

(Sec. 302) FEMA denials of requests for updates to flood maps may be appealed. If an appeal is successful, FEMA must refund premiums and the policyholder may be permitted to cancel the policy.

(Sec. 303) The bill revises the appeal period for FEMA flood elevation determinations and, if no appeals are filed, makes a determination final.

(Sec. 304) This bill amends the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 to revise the time period FEMA provides to communities for consultation regarding mapping changes.

(Sec. 305) FEMA must consult with the Department of Defense, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to obtain information relevant to flood insurance mapping.

TITLE IV--PROTECTING CONSUMERS AND INDIVIDUALS THROUGH IMPROVED MITIGATION

(Sec. 401) The bill revises the NFIP community rating program to require (currently, allows) FEMA to provide premium credits in communities that protect natural and beneficial floodplain functions.

TITLE V--PROGRAM INTEGRITY

(Sec. 501) The bill makes FEMA responsible for ensuring NFIP is financially sound. FEMA must commission an annual independent actuarial review of the financial status of NFIP.

(Sec. 502) The premium surcharge amount on flood insurance is changed to: (1) increase annual surcharges for all primary residences, (2) reduce annual surcharges for certain non-owner occupied residential properties, and (3) increase annual surcharges for all other non-primary residences.

(Sec. 503) FEMA must institute a uniform rate of assessment for all policyholders when increasing premiums.

During the phase-in period of the required reserve ratio for the NFIP reserve fund, FEMA must increase the annual assessment by at least one percentage point if the required amount was not collected the previous year.

(Sec. 504) This bill revises NFIP classifications of properties incurring multiple flood losses and coverage for properties that have incurred multiple flood losses.

For multiple loss properties, FEMA must raise premiums by at least 15% annually if the premiums do not reflect full risk.

Certain multiple loss properties are subject to minimum deductibles.

FEMA must undertake efforts to validate the accuracy of claim history data.

FEMA must deny coverage to a property owner that does not implement flood mitigation measures if the property is an extreme repetitive loss property (a property with cumulative claims that exceed 150% of the maximum coverage amount).

Multiple loss properties are not eligible for subsidized premium rates that apply to properties newly mapped into areas with special flood hazards.

FEMA must communicate to policyholders the effect on premiums of filing further claims for multiple-loss properties.

The bill revises the Flood Mitigation Assistance program, including to make assistance available to additional multiple loss properties.

(Sec. 505) This bill eliminates NFIP coverage for properties that prospectively exceed specified lifetime levels of claim payments.

(Sec. 506) This bill limits the availability of NFIP coverage for high-risk properties, including new structures built in a special flood hazard zone and structures with high replacement costs.

FEMA must establish a Flood Insurance Clearinghouse to provide offers of NFIP and private flood insurance coverage for high-risk properties.

(Sec. 507) The allowance paid to Write Your Own companies is limited to 27.9% of the premium rate. FEMA must reduce the costs to companies participating in the Write Your Own program.

(Sec. 508) This bill amends the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 to increase penalties for violations of the mandatory purchase requirement.

The GAO must report on the mandatory purchase requirement.

(Sec. 509) If a state allows all-perils policies to cover flood damage, property in that state is not subject to NFIP's mandatory purchase requirement.

(Sec. 510) The bill raises the maximum loan amount for the small loan exception to NFIP's mandatory purchase requirement from $5,000 to $25,000, adjusted for inflation.

A state or local government, or a private lender, may require flood insurance coverage for structures outside a special flood hazard area.

(Sec. 511) FEMA must approve claims under NFIP not later than 120 days after a policyholder submits proof of loss.

(Sec. 511) [sic] The GAO must report on options for simplifying NFIP.