The U.S. Senate approved legislation this week that would spare many Rhode Island homeowners from sharp rate hikes in their federal flood insurance policies.
The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act was passed in response to the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012.
The Biggert-Waters Act required the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, to develop new rates for flood insurance premiums that more accurately reflect flood risk.
FEMA didn’t complete a required affordability study before the new rates went into effect. That meant that thousands of Rhode Islanders were set to face sharp increases in their insurance rates.
The bill's next stop is the White House. If the bill is signed into law by President Obama, the bill would put a cap on future rate hikes. According to the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency, the National Flood Insurance Program has issued more than 16,000 policies in Rhode Island.