Wed. Sep 20th, 2023
    Legal Battle Over FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 Intensifies in Louisiana

    Several states, including Louisiana, are currently embroiled in a legal battle against FEMA’s Risk Rating 2.0 methodology for setting flood insurance rates. The program, which went into effect in October 2021, has resulted in rate increases for many policyholders. However, some Louisiana residents have seen decreases in their rates under Risk Rating 2.0.

    Insurance agents in the New Orleans area have provided insight into how their clients have been affected. While some homeowners have experienced significant rate reductions, the majority have seen incremental increases in their premiums. Rates that were previously $500 may now be $600, and rates as high as $7,000 have decreased to $2,000 in some cases.

    The lawsuit filed by several states was prompted by the soaring costs of flood insurance, which could lead homeowners to lose their properties due to the impact on mortgage payments. Attorneys representing Louisiana have called on the judge to halt Risk Rating 2.0 or take steps to assist policyholders facing skyrocketing premiums.

    There is disagreement among insurance agents regarding the proposal to halt Risk Rating 2.0. Some argue that reverting to a previous system would be challenging, considering the numerous programs that have been implemented over the years. Others believe that FEMA misled homeowners by providing subsidized rates for an extended period and is now changing the rules.

    FEMA maintains that Risk Rating 2.0 is fairer because it bases premiums on each property’s specific flood risk. The agency argues that the previous system resulted in inequities, with policyholders of lower-value properties subsidizing those with higher-value properties, and residents in lower-risk areas subsidizing those in higher-risk areas.

    By utilizing catastrophe models and specific property data points, such as the property’s replacement cost value, FEMA seeks to distribute premiums more equitably and address the cross-subsidization that existed in the previous system. The use of these additional data points allows FEMA to more accurately determine a property’s flood risk and distribute premiums accordingly.

    The judge is currently considering a motion to block Risk Rating 2.0, but the outcome is yet to be determined. Regardless, the debate surrounding the methodology highlights the complexity of establishing flood insurance rates and the need to balance equity and risk assessment.

    Sources: (No URLs provided)