Jindal urges Congress to pass flood insurance relief

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is urging congressional leaders to delay flood insurance premium increases for some homes. 

Jindal sent a letter to House and Senate leaders Tuesday saying flood insurance rates have become “irrational” and are a product of “excessive fees” and an “inefficient federal bureaucracy.”

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“These new insurance premiums have the potential to impose significant financial harm on many home and business owners around the nation,” Jindal said in the letter. 

Nearly half a million people have flood insurance in Louisiana, according to The Associated Press. 

In 2012, Congress passed flood insurance reform to dig itself out of billions of dollars' worth of debt the program had racked up, partly due to Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy. Since then, critics have argued that the increased rates are too high for some to stay in their homes.  

Bipartisan legislation passed the Senate earlier last month to delay the increase in premiums and also lock in rates for homes even if they are sold. 

Jindal’s letter comes a week after House leaders vowed to bring up flood insurance legislation later this month. The legislation has received bipartisan support. 

Jindal said he supports fiscally conservative principles when it comes to flood insurance, but added that legislation passed in 2012 does not do that. 

Citing a Government Accountability Office study, he said that fewer than half of flood insurance premiums actually go toward flood losses. 

It is no wonder the National Flood Insurance Program “has budgetary challenges,” he said. 

He also blasted the 2012 legislation for requiring homeowners to repay loans that resulted from Hurricane Katrina, saying the blame in many of those cases rests on the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers.

“Today’s rates are not based upon the true risk of our citizens, rather they are distorted by excessive fees and charges associated with an inefficient federal bureaucracy, paying for the Corps of Engineers failures, and holding Louisiana home and business owners liable for ongoing coastal land loss in our state,” he said.  

The letter is addressed to Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (D-Ky.) and members of the Louisiana delegation.