Louisiana Homeowners Stand to Lose in Latest Flood Insurance Legislation

LAKE CHARLES, LA - As the National Flood Insurance Program's December 8 expiration date approaches, Louisiana's lawmakers are failing to make progress to reauthorize the program. 

On November 14, the House approved a bill to reauthorize and overhaul the NFIP, with the Louisiana delegation's vote split 3-3. The bill faces strong opposition in the Senate as it will raise flood insurance costs for property owners.

Voting in favor of the House's legislation were Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-Old Jefferson) as well as Reps. Clay Higgins (R-Port Barre) and Mike Johnson (R-Bossier City).

Higgins is facing Dr. Phillip Conner of Lake Charles in his Nov. 2018 reelection bid.  "With the NFIP set to expire in less than two weeks, it’s time for Louisiana’s congressional delegation to step up to the plate," said Conner. "Unlike Congressman Higgins, I don’t believe the solution lies in hiking up flood insurance rates for working families still recovering from last year's flood." 

Voting against the legislation were Reps. Garret Graves (R-Baton Rouge), Cedric Richmond (D-New Orleans) and Ralph Abraham (R-Alto).

According to The Advocate, Rep. Graves spoke out against the bill, saying, "It’s awful policy from a financial perspective and a fairness perspective, especially to Louisiana." Rep. Abraham also criticized the legislation in the same report, saying, "This bill pays for the program on the backs of those who have played by the rules without making strong enough reforms to increase participation and mitigate flood risk."

Echoing these concerns, Conner said, "The people of Louisiana deserve better than a botched attempt to fix a program so many property owners depend upon."

If the Senate doesn’t pass the legislation, Congress could temporarily extend the provisions of the NFIP while better regulations are drafted.

Ira Wray