Relief for those families faced with large unexpected cost increases to their flood insurance is one step closer. Earlier today, the United States Senate voted 72-22 to approve the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (H.R. 3370). The Senate acted quickly to pass this bill as amended by the House to avoid the need for a conference committee to reconcile any differences. This bill further reins in and holds the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) accountable for the Biggert-Waters implementation issues. As passed, H.R. 3370 repeals FEMA’s authority to increase premium rates at the time of sale or new flood map, and refunds the excessive premiums to those who bought a property before FEMA warned them of the rate increase. This legislation allows flood policies to stay at their current rate when a property sells, meaning the policy will stay with a property not the owner. This bill also sets a floor and ceiling for future rate increase giving needed predictability to policy holders. Generally speaking if a primary residence was built before 1975 rates will increase at least 5% but not more than 18% (Biggert-Waters allowed for higher individual property increase as long as an average flood zone did not exceed a 20% overall increase). Second homes and businesses built before 1975 will experience 25% rate increases until full risk is reached. All structures built after 1975 will not experience rate increases of more than 18% (again, Biggert-Waters allowed for higher individual property increases as long as an average flood zone did not exceed 20% overall). Finally, the bill adds a small assessment on flood policies until everyone is paying full cost for flood insurance. Primary residences will pay an additional $25 and businesses and second homes will pay $250 until all final rate increases are set. President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law when it arrives at the White House. The original Biggert-Waters bill passed in July of 2013 gave the National Flood Insurance Program a needed long term five year extension. This bill also attempted to make the National Flood Insurance Program more financially stable, but created unaffordable and unexpected increases in cost for flood insurance for many single family homeowners. H.R. 3370 will help to make NFIP more finically stable but give needed predictability to homeowners.