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ICBA, Coalition Urge FEMA to Hold National Flood Insurance Summit

Washington, D.C. (Nov. 15, 2013)—The Independent Community Bankers of America® (ICBA) and a coalition of 15 trade associations today called on the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to immediately convene a National Flood Insurance Summit on the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. In a joint letter from ICBA and other representatives of the real estate, development, finance and insurance industries and local governments, the coalition wrote that uncertainty and confusion surrounding the implementation of the act are beginning to stall real estate transactions nationwide.

“We believe this summit should be separate from legislative efforts, and should focus on the provisions of the reform act that require immediate attention and clarification,” the coalition wrote. “We have many questions about FEMA’s plans, timelines and challenges, and we need up-to-date and accurate data.”

The Biggert-Waters Act has led to dramatic increases in National Flood Insurance Program premiums, which threaten to make flood insurance unaffordable for many policyholders who built to code and followed the law every step of the way. ICBA has repeatedly called on Congress to delay premium increases until FEMA completes its congressionally mandated affordability study.

In today’s joint letter requesting a National Flood Insurance Summit, the coalition proposed several topics to begin the discussion, including 

  • expediting regulations for the reimbursement of flood mapping appeals, the Technical Mapping Advisory Council, and installment payments to improve the affordability of flood insurance;
  • working to streamline and better publicize the Community Rating System so the program is used by more communities to lower premiums;
  • streamlining  and better educating consumers about the process for obtaining Elevation Certificates;
  • developing better education and information resources for the real estate, lender, development and insurance industries and local governments, including information about reducing premiums by mitigation actions;
  • enhancing consumer education and materials on the impacts of the Biggert Waters Act and the ongoing flood mapping process, including materials on the scientific resolution panel review process for map appeals; and,
  • designating a FEMA ombudsman or a consumer point-of-contact for implementation and mapping issues and concerns.

For more information, visit www.icba.org.

About ICBA
The Independent Community Bankers of America®, the nation’s voice for nearly 7,000 community banks of all sizes and charter types, is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education and high-quality products and services. For more information, visit www.icba.org.

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