Luetkemeyer Reintroduces Bills to Reform National Flood Insurance Program

Lake Sun Staff
newsroom@lakesunonline.com
U.S. Rep Blaine Luetkemeyer speaks during the Eldon Eggs and Issues event March 12.

Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer reintroduced four bills aimed at providing what he sees as commonsense reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Those reforms could impact landowners at Lake of the Ozarks and along the Osage River. 

“With thousands of miles of shoreline along the Lake of the Ozarks, Mississippi River, Missouri River, and Osage River, Missouri’s Third District has seen more than our fair share of flooding over the years. We are at Mother Nature’s mercy with the amount of rain and snow we receive, but making sure our area is well-equipped with the necessary resources to handle flooding is always at the top of my priority list,” said Luetkemeyer in a press release. “The NFIP has been mismanaged for decades, and despite bipartisan calls for comprehensive reform, worthwhile action has yet to be taken in Congress.”

Luetkemeyer outlined four bills he said will bring “meaningful, permanent change to the program and make the NFIP more financially sound, give power back to the local officials it affects, and protect American taxpayers from paying for future flood losses.”

Floodplain insurance has been a controversial issue at Lake of the Ozarks. Landowners within designated floodplain areas are required to purchase insurance under the National Flood Insurance Program. In some cases, lenders will purchase for landowners on property located with the maps established by the federal government. Those maps aren’t always correct. NFIP falls under the Federal Emergency Management Agency, FEMA. 

One of the challenges of flood plain maps around the Lake of the Ozarks is its steep topography that can place a structure very close to the base flood elevation or BFE horizontally while it is yet very far away vertically. That can make placing the structures in relation to the flood plain difficult for a determination without a physical look at the property.

The four bills filed by Luektemeyer are: 

•The Taxpayer Exposure Mitigation Act requires FEMA to purchase reinsurance or some capital market alternative to protect taxpayers from footing the bill for future losses.

•The Community Mapping Act allows local communities to develop alternative flood maps, shifting power from Washington bureaucrats to those who know their community best, giving states and communities to build accurate flood maps. 

 •Luetkemeyer also reintroduced a bill to require the use of replacement cost value in determining the premium rates for flood insurance coverage under the NFIP, ensuring homeowners pay their fair share and do not subsidize America’s wealthier coastal homeowners.

•Luetkemeyer introduced a bill allowing commercial properties to opt-out of the NFIP mandatory purchase requirement, allowing businesses to more easily purchase private insurance.