Lettr: Biggert-Waters should be delayed

Despite Congress’ efforts to ensure long-term sustainability for the National Flood Insurance Program, the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 will cause flood insurance premiums in Ascension Parish to skyrocket, thereby, causing flood insurance to become unattainable and unaffordable for the residents of Ascension Parish.

Because of the potential adverse effect of Biggert-Waters, I have been monitoring this issue. The good news is Congressman Bill Cassidy, R-Baton Rouge, passed an amendment that will prevent flood insurance premiums from rising excessively through 2015. The Cassidy Amendment is a great victory for Ascension Parish residents who will face unaffordable rates in the near future.

As a result of new FEMA flood maps, Ascension Parish homes that have never before flooded are being faced with exorbitant Biggert-Waters rates despite following all of the requirements and inspections imposed by FEMA.

The actual extent of implications that Biggert-Waters’ implementation could have on Ascension Parish homeowners is not yet fully known. Yet, without knowing the full extent of its impending economic blowback, FEMA will move ahead with increasing rates on certain properties this year, including properties located here in Ascension Parish.

For many Ascension Parish residents, your homeownership is your biggest investment and the subsequent ramifications of FEMA’s implementation of Biggert-Waters could significantly devalue homes by radically increasing flood insurance premiums.

I do support a solvent NFIP program because it has aided many Ascension Parish residents who have flooded in the past. However, flood insurance accessibility and affordability must remain in balance; therefore, a delay in the rate increases imposed by Biggert-Waters seems to be the most prudent response at this time.

Mert Smiley

Ascension Parish assessor

Gonzales