Fixing flood insurance policies means saving homes

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A few months ago, I was in Bayou Gauche in St. Charles Parish and was presented with a large carton of keys – actual home keys from many residents in the neighborhood. The residents said that if flood insurance premiums remain under the Bigger-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, they’d have to literally hand in the keys to their homes and walk away from their piece of the American Dream.

This is the sad, astonishing reality that many folks in Louisiana are facing.

As you may know, these flood insurance rates were predicted based on FEMA’s incomplete and inaccurate flood maps. FEMA’s blatant mistakes have put affected communities under the gun, and the result could be that Louisiana families and communities will have to bear the cost for years to come.

One of my very top priorities is to ensure that folks are not adversely impacted by these mistakes and to ensure a strong and sustainable National Flood Insurance Program. There are a number of reasons why we need to fix this.

First, this isn’t fair to people who played by the rules every step of the way – the ones who built their homes to the right elevation and made all the adjustments they were asked to make.

Second, if we don’t fix this, it will be an economic disaster that will negatively affect every state in the country. People who’ve been living by the rules could be priced out of their homes, and that just isn’t right.

Finally, the current flood insurance system is not fiscally sustainable. We need to fix this now before there are thousands of people leaving the system, and no longer paying the premiums that would build solvency.

In July, I drove over to FEMA’s national headquarters and delivered the carton of keys I received in Bayou Gauche. I told them exactly what folks in Louisiana were telling me – about how they’re unfairly getting priced out of their homes.

In additional to working to correct this with FEMA, I’m a cosponsor of legislation in the U.S. Senate that would fix these problems and protect homeowners and businesses in Louisiana and across the country. We cannot wait any longer to take action and fix this – and we will do so in the U.S. Senate.