CONGRESSWOMAN ELISE STEFANIK
On Tuesday, March 12, 2013, the House is scheduled to consider H.R. 1035, a bill to require a study of voluntary community-based flood insurance options and how such options could be incorporated into the national flood insurance program, under a suspension of the rules. The bill was introduced on March 7, 2013 by Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) and referred to the Committee on Financial Services.
H.R. 1035 requires FEMA to conduct a study to assess options, methods, and strategies for making available voluntary community-based flood insurance policies through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and report its recommendations for implementation to Congress within 18 months. Additionally, it requires GAO to analyze FEMA's report and submit its comments or recommendations to Congress within 6 months.
In 1968, Congress established the NFIP as a way to reduce the public cost of widespread flood damage. Under the program, residents who reside in a floodplain and have a federally backed mortgage are required to have flood insurance. However, according to CRS, most at-risk individuals do not purchase the mandatory insurance. Some estimates say that less than 20 percent of Americans in flood-zone areas have flood insurance.
H.R. 1035 would mitigate some of these problems by requiring FEMA to study the feasibility of community-based flood insurance policies, in which a local community (e.g. a town, village, etc.) would purchase insurance for all of its residents.
Similar provisions have passed the House previously. During negotiations in the 112th Congress to reauthorize the NFIP, the House version included the bipartisan measure, but it was dropped at the last moment due to an oversight by the Senate. Subsequently, the House passed the provision as a stand-alone in H.R. 6186 on September 10, 2012 by a recorded vote of 364-11 (Roll Call #559). For more information, please see the Legislative Digest on H.R. 6186, located here.
There is no CBO score currently available. However, CBO said of H.R. 6186 that, ““The costs of those studies would be discretionary and insignificant (i.e. less than $500,000) in each year.”