The GAO report also urged Congress to consider forgiving the current debt of the NFIP but the Cassidy-Gillibrand proposal skips that recommendation. In terms of encouraging private sector involvement, the legislation promises to remove barriers to the entrance of private insurers into the flood insurance market. “Such market entrance by private insurers should be gradual and preserve the availability and affordability of flood insurance coverage for all consumers while continuing the investment in floodplain mapping and management,” according to the senators’ summary. It seeks to gradually phase-in private coverage by initially expanding eligibility to certain risk classifications (i.e. business properties, second homes, and severe repetitive loss properties) for which rates are now on a path to full actuarial rates. In addition, the bill notes that the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act assesses a $250 surcharge on nonresidential and secondary home properties, which the proposal says creates space for a private insurer to offer a competitive flood insurance product. The Cassidy-Gillibrand measure would allow NFIP policyholders to purchase a private flood insurance policy and switch back to NFIP coverage without losing continuous coverage or grandfathering status. This has been cited as an obstacle to private sales as has NFIP’s not being able to share its claims data, a situation the bill seeks to correct. Within two years after the law is enacted, FEMA would be required to measure the level of risk underwritten by private insurers in comparison to the risk underwritten by the NFIP.

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