Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., says she plans to introduce legislation this week that would delay implementation of premium hikes for the National Flood Insurance Program for as long as four years. The bill has bipartisan support in the Senate, Insurance Journal reports.

The premium increases were mandated by the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, authored by Waters and longtime National Association of Realtors ally Judy Biggert, R-Ill. The bill reauthorized the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through 2017.

The premium increases were aimed at reducing the program’s debts — now estimated at more than $25 billion — by ending premium subsidies for property owners and remapping communities. Now, real estate industry trade groups say, premiums hikes are beginning to hurt home values as they’re phased in.

Senate and House leaders engaged in budget talks haven’t said whether there might be a vote to delay premium hikes. Although a delay would be welcomed by real estate industry groups, business, taxpayer and insurance groups are opposed, Insurance Journal reports.

“Taxpayers should be outraged that their tax dollars are incentivizing high-risk behavior that increases federal disaster costs,” said Steve Ellis, vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense. Source:

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