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U.S. Rep. Ron Kind has signed onto a bill that he hopes could provide some relief from high-priced flood insurance.

The Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act would allow private insurance companies to enter the market, currently limited to the National Flood Insurance Program, which Kind said he believes could lead to a 15 to 20 percent reduction in premiums.

“This just seems like a practical solution to a lot of frustrations we’ve had back home,” Kind said.

La Crosse has roughly 1,800 structures — including about 1,200 homes — in the 100-year floodplain. Under the national risk model, those structures are considered high-risk, even though the city hasn’t had a major flood in decades and has never experienced multiple floods within a five-year span.

Flood insurance is a prerequisite for banks to issue a mortgage on homes in the floodplain.

The La Crosse Democrat said he has to carry flood insurance on his French Island home.

“It costs a lot, but you know you’re not going to be making any claims,” he said.

A similar bill was passed by the House last year but did not make it through the Senate.

Doug Kerns, floodplain coordinator for the city of La Crosse, said he hopes private insurers will look at communities like La Crosse and see that the risk is lower than national maps might indicate.

“When there’s a national standard applied to a program with a one-size-fits-all (approach), I think it does put La Crosse at a disadvantage,” Kerns said. “There’s a heck of a lot of premium going out the door and not a lot of return.”

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Reporter

Rhymes with Lubbock. La Crosse Tribune reporter and data geek. Covers energy, transportation and the environment, among other things.

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