Antwan Harris / Eyewitness News
NEW ORLEANS, La. -- The battle to stop skyrocketing flood insurance rates may soon see more light at the end of the tunnel as this week state lawmakers released details of an insurance reform bill, to help homeowners keep their rates low, and their families safe.
Senator David Vitter said since Katrina, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has taken a financial beating, and now the buck is being passed to the taxpayer.
“Having something that middle-class families can't afford that would cause them to turn in their keys and in some cases walk away from their homes. That is a different story and that is unacceptable,” Vitter said.
Ann Leblanc with the Lakeview Homeowners Association said the area continues to grow since flooding ravaged the area years ago and right now, any sudden increase in flood insurance would put a halt on the booming market.
“If they would have to pay thousands of dollars in insurance or more than their mortgage, that will certainly cause some concern and pause,” Leblanc added.
Last week state leaders and businesses met to find some middle ground on the issues.
Some stated they would have to pay tens of thousands of dollars in rate hikes if nothing is done.
Vitter said the problem is much larger than the city limits. “We are on the tip of the spear in coastal Louisiana. We are experiencing this but this is not just a louisana issue. This is coming to movie theaters everywhere.”
The Lakeview area, while hit hard by Katrina, flooded due to a levee breach. Leblanc said rates hikes don't truly add up.
“It doesn't seem like that is a direct correlation when it is not a natural disaster but a man-made disaster,” she added.
The proposed measure would delay any dramatic rate increase for at least two years according to Vitter.