Homeland Security says that Risk Rating 2.0 – a flood insurance system that prices policies by house rather than flood zone – needs more tweaking than expected.
WASHINGTON – Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed at a congressional hearing last week that a new federal system for setting flood insurance premiums needs more tweaking than expected.
The system, dubbed Risk Rating 2.0, is one of the few federal initiatives that has drawn bipartisan opposition in Louisiana. Since its inception in 2021, lawmakers of both parties have demanded – without success – that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) explain just what variables go into its pricing formula. They’ve also said the revamp gave Louisiana short shrift.
Meanwhile, the feds have defended the new system, which was unveiled after decades of complaints from the country’s interior that FEMA’s older system unfairly subsidized coastal areas. The government has said Risk Rating 2.0 is aimed at better aligning premiums with individual properties’ actual flood risks.
But the Department of Homeland Security, which oversees FEMA, is now rethinking its approach, Mayorkas said to the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee as he presented his agency’s budget Wednesday. The agency is also considering grants to help some businesses and homeowners, he said.
“We are reviewing our grant programs to ensure that again they leave no community disenfranchised … We are reviewing and need to continue to review the Risk Rating 2.0 given the concerns that have been expressed,” Mayorkas said.
Louisiana Congressman Troy Carter said the takeaway from Mayorkas’ testimony is that Risk Rating 2.0 is “not a done deal, like we had been told, and that there will be some revisiting of the formula specifically geared toward fairness and granting relief.”
Carter, whose 2nd Congressional District stretches up the Mississippi River from New Orleans to north Baton Rouge, was one of the only committee members to ask questions that deviated from the committee’s apparent theme: that Mayorkas is responsible for what the GOP sees as a mess on the border with Mexico. He said after the hearing that he did so because flood insurance is far more important to Louisiana than are the country’s problems at the border.
© 2023 The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.