Press Releases

Hensarling Urges Support for Flood Insurance Reform


Washington, September 25, 2017 - Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) delivered the following remarks in support of the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act:

Mr. Speaker, it’s so obvious to all as we have looked in horror on our television screens to see the devastation of Harvey, Irma and Maria. There have been lots of tragic stories, harrowing tales of survival.

I’ve been to Houston. I’ve met with a number of the victims. But Mr. Speaker let me tell you about one tragic story. One tragic story is that there are people who are living in homes that repeatedly flood. Five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, even twenty times.

Something is fundamentally wrong in America, and something is fundamentally dangerous in America when people are living in harm’s way. Many of these people are ready to move.

Mr. Speaker last week I made a comment about these repeatedly flooded properties that was clearly inartful. It was not meant to be taken literally, but it was. And I regret the comment because it diverted from a very important point that needs to be made and the point is this: if we care about our fellow citizens, if we wish to be compassionate, then federal aid and federal policy will help move these people to safer ground.

It’s time to either help mitigate these homes or to help move these homes. For this small set of properties, we must help. Otherwise I fear that the fatalities and the economic carnage will continue.

If we simply rebuild the same properties in the same manner in the same place and expect a different result, we’re not helping out fellow citizens we’re not helping our first responders, and we’re certainly not helping the taxpayer.

Mr. Speaker another tragedy of these storms is how many people needed flood insurance but didn’t have it.  

Many of them had no idea that they actually needed it. And in Houston by some reports, 80% of the damaged homes didn’t have flood insurance.

Why? One of the reasons Mr. Speaker is because we have a government monopoly in flood insurance.

Many people don’t understand that flood is not included in their typical homeowner’s insurance policy. Many people unfortunately took false security from living outside the government designated hundred-year flood plain.

Many have seen no options.

But help is on the way. Bipartisan help is on the way with the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act known as the Ross-Castor bill.

It’s a critical piece of legislation to give more people more options more affordable options for flood insurance. 

In the small part of the national market where we have competition, particularly in Pennsylvania and in Florida, people are saving hundreds of dollars if not thousands of dollars in many cases on their flood insurance premiums.

The very respected firm of Milliman, which studies insurance matters, said that half of policy owners in Florida, two-thirds in Louisiana, and seventy-five percent in Texas, my native state, could all save with private flood insurance.

And think about it Mr. Speaker if we had a real competitive market with a multiple of companies advertising and selling multiple policies more people would become educated about the need for flood insurance and have that rolled into their normal homeowner’s policy. This is vital.

Mr. Speaker, last year this bill passed this House 419-0. You can’t get anymore bipartisan.

It recently passed the Financial Services Committee 58-0. If there’s one thing that we need to do, and it’s urgent that we do it now with a National Flood Insurance Program, which is in debt, facing another bailout and an uncertain future, which we must remedy as folks begin to rebuild let’s get them more affordable flood insurance policies. 

I appreciate the bill included in this package, and for the sake of all the victims of the hurricanes, I urge its adoption.

I yield back the balance of my time. 


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