Louisiana’s Senators are renewing the push to win a long term renewal of the National Flood Insurance Program, but they hope to win more than just an extension, they want substantial reforms as well. To start, Senator Bill Cassidy says they’re proposing a flood insurance voucher to help low- and middle-income residents afford their rates, even if their flood risk has increased.

“Imagine the couple who bought a home near the beach or the river valley in 1958, and now they are in their elderly years and they can no longer afford their insurance because their risk has risen.”

The bill also caps annual premium increases at nine percent, down from the current maximum allowable increase of 25 percent.

The bill also authorizes FEMA to offer low-interest flood mitigation loans to homeowners who are interested in raising their homes. Cassidy says the loans pay for themselves.

“Even though it is low interest, it actually saves the taxpayer money, because it allows the taxpayer to do that which is going to save the taxpayer money.”

The Senator adds a Wharton School of Business study shows that one dollar of flood mitigation spending can save up to six dollars in costs in the future.

Cassidy says at the moment there is no reoccurring, dedicated federal funding for large scale flood mitigation projects, so they’re setting up a billion-dollar fund for local governments to draw from, that will be dispensed as 200 million dollars every year for five years.

“What we are trying to do is just make this kind of standard, where a community or a family can mitigate their risk on an ongoing basis.”

The proposal also calls for increasing the amount of time you have to challenge a flood insurance claim result in court from one to two years.

“Homeowners already are victimized when their property is destroyed. They shouldn’t be victimized twice,” says Sen. John Kennedy. “Unfortunately, bad actors continue to receive federal contracts despite reprehensible behavior in minimizing property damage. Thankfully, this bill includes my provision allowing FEMA to more easily fire fraudulent contractors."