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Sen. Cassidy pushing for Congress to lower flood insurance costs amidst damage from Hurricane Beryl

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BATON ROUGE — U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) is demanding Congress to make FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program more affordable following Hurricane Beryl's impact in Texas.

Cassidy has been discussing the increased cost of taxpayer-subsidized flood insurance for months in Congress. Now with Beryl having hit Texas and forecasters at Colorado State predicting this hurricane season to be even more active than before, he's trying to promote legislation that would make policies for people in flood-prone areas cost less.

FEMA sells about 90% of the nation's flood policies through the NFIP. As Beryl is affecting Texas, many are having to deal with the effects of the storm without flood insurance. A lot of that has had to do with its rising costs.

"Now in theory, the National Flood Insurance Program should provide a safety net for Americans after a storm like this, but instead of having a safety net once the storm passes, families are being forced to drop coverage, leaving them vulnerable," Cassidy said in a press conference in Washington on Tuesday.

In Louisiana, many are possibly facing that same struggle. In April 2021, FEMA launched its Risk Rating 2.0 Model, a method to calculate premiums for individual properties based on flood risk.

"It used to be what flood zone classification is your property in and the elevation of it. Now it's those features plus the proximity that your property has to a body of water. We're in Louisiana. Everybody is close to a body of water," Clayton Fields of Keller Williams Realty said.

People living in Flood Zone X, which classifies properties that have a lower to moderate risk of flooding, are not required to have flood insurance. However, when they try to get flood insurance, many are seeing much higher prices.

"We have a client located in Central Louisiana. She's in an X flood zone. Her flood insurance is optional, around $500 a year. She just renewed her flood insurance and it's over 2,000 dollars a year. And it's not a required policy, but she needs it because of course she's concerned with living in Louisiana about flooding," Fields said.

For people who live in Flood Zone AE, where flood insurance is required because properties in that zone have an increased risk of flooding, Keller Williams reports individual flood insurance costs rising from $1,700 to upwards of $4,100 annually. 

Cassidy says he hopes he can find a way to get lawmakers to support his push to reverse the rate adjustment. He says it's difficult to get support from non-flood-prone states to get their residents to pay for insuring residents of states that do flood. 

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