“The National Flood Insurance Program is vital to Louisiana’s economy. It expires September 30th. We need to renew it.”
Louisiana's U.S. Senator John Kennedy is an intrinsic part of that effort.
He serves on the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs – the senate committee responsible for vetting that legislation. Kennedy has also crafted one of the renewal bills, and says the committee chair, Idaho’s Mike Crapo, has asked for his help.
“Senator Crapo has asked me to take my bill and get with the Democrats on the committee – since I’ve got more Democrats and Republicans on with my bill than anybody else – and try to work out a compromise to put into his bill.”
Kennedy note that he's got Republicans Marco Rubio and Thad Cochran supporting his bill, along with Democrats Elizabeth Warren and Cory Booker. Additionally, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez is his bill's co-sponsor.
Kennedy says they’re considering adding a provision from a flood insurance bill offered by Louisiana’s other U.S. Senator, Bill Cassidy.
“One of the changes we’ll probably make is to allow the private insurance companies to offer flood insurance.”
Milliman, Inc., an independent actuarial firm, recently analyzed flood insurance policies in Louisiana, Texas and Florida, finding that 69% of those covered in Louisiana would have lower premiums if private insurers participated. But they also found another 21% of Louisiana homeowners in designated flood zones would pay more than twice as much.
“What I don’t want to happen is for the private companies to just come in, take the very best risks, make a lot of money on those, and leave the bad risks for the American taxpayer to pay for.”
Kennedy says he’ll also push to extend the program for more than the customary five years.
“We don’t need to be going through this and scaring the living daylights out of every Louisiana homeowner who lives near water every several years. We need to have some permanence to this.”