Durbin Commends FEMA for Decision to Offer Deeply Discounted Insurance to Metro East

[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) today applauded the decision by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offering property owners in Metro East deeply discounted insurance rates for two years beginning January 1, 2011.  This administrative change – implemented without legislation – allows more time for repairing the levees while ensuring that residents and businesses are financially protected in the event of a flood.

“In these tough economic times, many property owners in the Metro East area are not able to afford the high cost mandatory flood insurance,” said Durbin.  “FEMA made the right decision in extending deeply discounted rates to homeowners and businesses once the new maps take effect.  But this is only a temporary solution.  The long-term solution is to bring the levees into a good state of repair so that the region is adequately protected.  Today, FEMA is ensuring that residents will at least be financially protected – at an affordable price – in the event of a flood.”

FEMA announced today that the National Flood Insurance Program will be implementing a measure that will help ease the financial burden of property owners affected by the flood remapping process across the country.  FEMA is extending eligibility for its Preferred Risk Policy – the Program’s lowest-cost flood insurance policy – for two years following the effective date of a map change for owners of buildings newly shown in Special Flood Hazard Areas. 

In March 2010, Durbin sent a letter to the Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security requesting legislative language that would extend the Preferred Risk Policy to Metro East residents and businesses while the area’s levees were being repaired.

Durbin has worked with Congressman Jerry Costello (D-IL) and federal, state and local officials to prevent residents and businesses from facing unreasonably high flood insurance rates while ensuring that they are financially protected in the event of a flood.  Previously, in response to a 2008 request from Durbin and Costello, FEMA agreed to prevent Illinois residents and businesses from facing significantly higher flood insurance premiums years before their Missouri counterparts.  This move leveled the playing field in the St. Louis region and ensured that FEMA’s new flood maps would not take effect on the Illinois side of the Mississippi before the Missouri side.