State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, D-Charleston, plans to introduce legislation to prevent banks from foreclosing on homeowners who are current on their mortgage but are unable to pay flood insurance premiums.
Stavrinakis' actions come as a result of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012. The law was crafted to overhaul the debt-laden National Flood Insurance Program. The reforms include new flood maps, and they also eliminate subsidies for policies and rate increases that average 10 percent.
The law also erases any subsidies on a flood insurance policy when the property is sold.
State officials have warned that changes to the flood insurance program could have a major impact on the homes market.
"Many families are now unable to maintain basic flood insurance putting their families and property at great risk," Stavrinakis said in a written statement. "The pain will only spread if we do not act and many South Carolinians who are responsibly paying their mortgages will be faced with foreclosure only because they cannot afford Congress' new flood insurance rates."
As of late September, there were nearly 104,000 flood insurance policies in Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester counties.
There's currently legislation in Congress to delay parts of the Biggert-Waters law. One of the legislation's details would allow subsidized rates to be transferred when a home in sold.
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