Washington lobbyists like to tout, especially about getting favored bills passed. Unfortunately, the current Congress has an abysmal record of actually enacting legislation. As far as insurance-related legislation, this Congress will probably end up passing only a few bills this year.

One has already been enacted. “The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014” (H.R. 3370) changes the rate structure included in the flood insurance reform package, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12).The fact that BW-12 passed overwhelmingly was especially significant because Congress rarely overcomes its partisan gridlock in such dramatic fashion. But then earlier this year, there was another overwhelming vote, this time to undo significant portions of BW-12.

What happened? First, Superstorm Sandy hit the Mid-Atlantic coastline. Then, lawmakers who voted for actuarially sound rates started hearing from constituents about big increases in their flood insurance premiums, some so large that they were at risk of losing their homes. There is nothing like a clear message from the voters to concentrate the attention of even the most ideological member of Congress.

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