Text: H.R.1423 — 115th Congress (2017-2018)All Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (03/08/2017)

 
[Congressional Bills 115th Congress]
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[H.R. 1423 Introduced in House (IH)]

<DOC>






115th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 1423

 To reauthorize and improve the national flood insurance program, and 
                          for other purposes.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                             March 8, 2017

Ms. Velazquez introduced the following bill; which was referred to the 
                    Committee on Financial Services

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
 To reauthorize and improve the national flood insurance program, and 
                          for other purposes.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE; TABLE OF CONTENTS.

    (a) Short Title.--This Act may be cited as the ``National Flood 
Insurance Program Reauthorization and Improvement Act of 2017''.
    (b) Table of Contents.--The table of contents for this Act is as 
follows:

Sec. 1. Short title; table of contents.
Sec. 2. Extension of national flood insurance program.
Sec. 3. Improved disclosure requirement for standard flood insurance 
                            policies.
Sec. 4. Properties with preexisting conditions.
Sec. 5. Improvement of administrative and litigation process for claims 
                            adjudication.
Sec. 6. Improvement of oversight of engineers.
Sec. 7. Publicly searchable online registry.
Sec. 8. Penalties for fraud and false statements in the National Flood 
                            Insurance Program.
Sec. 9. Whistleblower protection for employees.
Sec. 10. Engineering firm independence.
Sec. 11. GAO reports.
Sec. 12. Regulations.

SEC. 2. EXTENSION OF NATIONAL FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM.

    (a) Financing.--Section 1309(a) of the National Flood Insurance Act 
of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4016(a)) is amended by striking ``September 30, 
2017'' and inserting ``September 30, 2027''.
    (b) Program Expiration.--Section 1319 of the National Flood 
Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4026) is amended by striking 
``September 30, 2017'' and inserting ``September 30, 2027''.

SEC. 3. IMPROVED DISCLOSURE REQUIREMENT FOR STANDARD FLOOD INSURANCE 
              POLICIES.

    Section 100234 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 
2012 (42 U.S.C. 4013a) is amended by adding at the end the following 
new subsections:
    ``(c) Disclosure of Coverage.--
            ``(1) Disclosure sheet.--Each policy under the National 
        Flood Insurance Program shall include a disclosure sheet that 
        sets forth, in plain language--
                    ``(A) the definition of the term `flood' for 
                purposes of coverage under the policy;
                    ``(B) a description of what type of flood forces 
                are necessary so that losses from an event are covered 
                under the policy, including overflow of inland or tidal 
                waves, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of a 
                surface any source, and mudflow;
                    ``(C) a statement of the types and characteristics 
                of losses that are not covered under the policy;
                    ``(D) a summary of total cost and amount of 
                insurance coverage;
                    ``(E) a statement that the disclosure sheet 
                provides general information about the policyholder's 
                standard flood insurance policy;
                    ``(F) a statement that the standard flood insurance 
                policy, together with the application, endorsements, 
                and declarations page, make up the official contract 
                and are controlling in the event that there is any 
                difference between the information on the disclosure 
                sheet and the information in the policy; and
                    ``(G) a statement that if the policyholder has any 
                questions regarding information in the disclosure sheet 
                or policy he or she should contact their insurance 
                agent, together with the address and phone number at 
                which to contact such agent.
            ``(2) Acknowledgment sheet.--Each policy under the National 
        Flood Insurance Program shall include an acknowledgment sheet 
        that sets forth, in plain language--
                    ``(A) a statement of whether or not there is a 
                basement in the property to be covered by the policy;
                    ``(B) a statement of whether or not the policy 
                provides coverage for the contents of the property 
                covered by the policy;
                    ``(C) a statement that the standard flood insurance 
                policy, together with the application, endorsements, 
                and declarations page, make up the official contract 
                and are controlling in the event that there is any 
                difference between the information on the 
                acknowledgment sheet and the information in the policy; 
                and
                    ``(D) a statement that if the policyholder has any 
                questions regarding information in the acknowledgment 
                sheet or policy he or she should contact their 
                insurance agent, together with the address and phone 
                number at which to contact such agent.
            ``(3) Required signatures.--A policy for flood insurance 
        coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program may not 
        take effect unless the disclosure sheet required under 
        paragraph (1) and the acknowledgment sheet required under 
        paragraph (2), with respect to the policy, are signed and dated 
        by the policyholder, the insurance agent who sold the policy, 
        and a representative of the Administrator.
    ``(d) Availability in Other Languages.--
            ``(1) Availability.--The Administrator shall make policies 
        under the National Flood Insurance Program, and the disclosure 
        and acknowledgment sheets required by subsection (c), available 
        in Spanish language versions and in such other languages as the 
        Administrator considers appropriate and shall provide such a 
        version at the request of the insured or prospective insured.
            ``(2) Publicizing availability.--The Administrator shall 
        take such actions as may be necessary to inform insureds and 
        prospective insures of the availability of policies in such 
        languages other than English.
            ``(3) Conflicting information.--In the case of any 
        difference between the information that is provided pursuant to 
        this subsection to a policyholder in the English language and 
        in the Spanish or other language, the information provided in 
        the English language shall be determinative.''.

SEC. 4. PROPERTIES WITH PREEXISTING CONDITIONS.

    Section 1311 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 
4018) is amended by adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(c) Program for Investigation of Preexisting Structural 
Conditions.--
            ``(1) Voluntary program.--The Administrator shall carry out 
        a program to provide for companies participating in the Write 
        Your Own program (as such term is defined in section 100202 of 
        the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (42 
        U.S.C. 4004)) to investigate preexisting structural conditions 
        of insured properties and potentially insured properties that 
        could result in the denial of a claim under a policy for flood 
        insurance coverage under this title in the event of a flood 
        loss to such property. Participation in the program shall be 
        voluntary on the part of Write Your Own companies.
            ``(2) Investigation of properties.--Under the program under 
        this subsection, a Write Your Own company participating in the 
        program shall--
                    ``(A) provide in policies for flood insurance 
                coverage under this title covered by the program that, 
                upon the request of the policyholder, the company shall 
                provide for--
                            ``(i) an investigation of the property 
                        covered by such policy, using common methods, 
                        to determine whether preexisting structural 
                        conditions are present that could result in the 
                        denial of a claim under such policy for flood 
                        losses; and
                            ``(ii) if such investigation is not 
                        determinative, an on-site inspection of the 
                        property to determine whether such preexisting 
                        structural conditions are present;
                    ``(B) upon completion of an investigation or 
                inspection pursuant to subparagraph (A) that determines 
                that such a preexisting structural condition is present 
                or absent, submit a report to the policyholder and 
                Administrator describing the condition; and
                    ``(C) impose a surcharge on each policy described 
                in subparagraph (A) in such amount that the 
                Administrator determines is appropriate to cover the 
                costs of investigations and inspections performed 
                pursuant to such policies and reimburse Write Your Own 
                companies participating in the program under this 
                subsection for such costs.''.

SEC. 5. IMPROVEMENT OF ADMINISTRATIVE AND LITIGATION PROCESS FOR CLAIMS 
              ADJUDICATION.

    (a) Industry Program With Federal Financial Assistance.--Section 
1333 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4053) is 
amended--
            (1) by striking ``mailing of notice of disallowance or 
        partial disallowance by the Administrator'' and inserting ``the 
        final determination by the Administrator disallowing or 
        partially disallowing the claim''; and
            (2) by adding after the period at the end the following: 
        ``If the claimant prevails in an action under this section, the 
        court may award costs of litigation, including attorneys fee, 
        litigation expenses, and engineering and other expert expenses, 
        to the claimant. Any such award shall be paid by the 
        Administrator and, upon such payment, the Administrator shall 
        be subrogated to the rights of the claimant to recover such 
        costs for which the Administrator has compensated the claimant 
        from any company or other insurer responsible for the 
        disallowance of the claim.''.
    (b) Government Program With Industry Assistance.--Section 1341 of 
the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4072) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``mailing of notice of disallowance or 
        partial disallowance of'' and inserting ``the final 
        determination disallowing or partially disallowing''; and
            (2) by adding after the period at the end the following: 
        ``If the claimant prevails in an action under this section, the 
        court may award costs of litigation, including attorneys fee, 
        litigation expenses, and engineering and other expert expenses, 
        to the claimant. Any such award shall be paid by the 
        Administrator and, upon such payment, the Administrator shall 
        be subrogated to the rights of the claimant to recover such 
        costs for which the Administrator has compensated the claimant 
        from any insurance company or other insurer or insurance 
        adjustment organization that may be responsible for the 
        disallowance of the claim.''.
    (c) Awards for Costs in Appeals to FEMA.--Section 1312 of the 
National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4019) is amended by 
adding at the end the following new subsection:
    ``(d) Awards for Costs in Administrative Proceedings.--If the 
claimant prevails in any appeal to the Administrator of the 
disallowance of a claim for losses covered by flood insurance made 
available under this title, the Administrator shall award costs of the 
appeal, including attorneys fee, any proceeding expenses, and 
engineering and other expert expenses, to the claimant.''.
    (d) Use of Private Counsel.--Section 1347 of the National Flood 
Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4083) is amended by adding at the end 
the following new subsection:
    ``(c) Use of Private Counsel.--
            ``(1) Fee schedule.--The Administrator shall establish a 
        fee schedule for payment of private counsel used to represent 
        the Administrator in controversies, actions, and proceedings in 
        connection with the National Flood Insurance Program under this 
        title.
            ``(2) Requirement for preauthorization.--The Administrator 
        shall require any private counsel obtained in connection with 
        any controversy, action, or proceeding in connection with the 
        National Flood Insurance Program under this title to obtain 
        authorization from the Administrator before taking any major 
        action associated with such controversy, action, or proceeding, 
        which shall include settlement, hiring experts, and such other 
        actions as the Administrator shall specify.''.

SEC. 6. IMPROVEMENT OF OVERSIGHT OF ENGINEERS.

    (a) In General.--Part C of chapter 2 of the National Flood 
Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4081 et seq.) is amended by adding at 
the end the following new section:

``SEC. 1349. OVERSIGHT OF ENGINEERS.

    ``(a) Qualifications.--The Administrator shall require that any 
individual that provides engineering services in connection with flood 
insurance coverage provided under this title, including inspections 
under section 1306(e) and services in connection with assessing any 
claim for losses covered by a policy for such coverage, shall--
            ``(1) have registered with the Administrator and certified 
        to the Administrator that the engineer is professionally 
        licensed to practice as an engineer;
            ``(2) have expertise in a particular discipline of 
        engineering or act within the area of their competency, as the 
        Administrator shall require; and
            ``(3) be certified by the Administrator pursuant to 
        subsection (b).
    ``(b) Certification by FEMA.--
            ``(1) Requirement.--The Administrator shall carry out a 
        program under this subsection to certify engineers as qualified 
        to provide engineering services in connection with flood 
        insurance coverage provided under this title.
            ``(2) Contents.--The program under this subsection shall--
                    ``(A) include an initial training seminar;
                    ``(B) provide such standards and testing 
                requirements as the Administrator shall establish; and
                    ``(C) require an annual renewal of certification 
                through continuing education.
    ``(c) Fees.--
            ``(1) Schedule; collection.--The Administrator shall 
        establish and collect fees using a standardized fee schedule 
        for all engineering services provided in connection with flood 
        insurance coverage provided under this title, which schedule 
        shall be similar to the fee schedule of the Administrator used 
        for companies adjusting claims under such coverage.
            ``(2) Deposit.--Any fees collected under paragraph (1) 
        section shall be deposited into the National Flood Insurance 
        Fund pursuant to section 1310(b)(6).
    ``(d) Identification Numbers.--The Administrator shall establish a 
system to provide a unique numerical identifier for each engineer that 
provides engineering services in connection with flood insurance 
coverage provided under this title to assist in tracking past 
performance in the provision of such services.
    ``(e) Submission of Documentation.--In the case of any insurance 
company participating in the Write Your Own program (as such term is 
defined in section 100202 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform 
Act of 2012 (42 U.S.C. 4004)):
            ``(1) To write your own insurers.--The Administrator 
        shall--
                    ``(A) require all such participating insurance 
                companies to obtain from providers of engineering 
                services provided in connection with flood insurance 
                coverage provided under this title, including any sub-
                contractors,
                            ``(i) documentation sufficient to itemize 
                        and disaggregate the costs and fees for such 
                        services, including the costs and fees for any 
                        subcontractors; and
                            ``(ii) all photos, notes, draft reports, 
                        and other documentation relating to providing 
                        such services in connection with a claim under 
                        such coverage;
                    ``(B) make available to such participating 
                insurance companies the fee schedule established under 
                subsection (c) and such other information as may be 
                necessary to enable such participating insurance 
                companies to determine whether the costs and fees 
                charged by providers of engineering services are 
                reasonable in relation to the services provided.
            ``(2) To fema.--The Administrator shall require each such 
        insurance company to submit to the Administrator, before any 
        reimbursement or other allowance, payment, or compensation is 
        provided under the Write Your Own program in connection with 
        engineering services provided, all supporting documentation 
        relating to such engineering services.''.
    (b) Use of Fees.--Subsection (a) of section 1310 of the National 
Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4017(a)) is amended--
            (1) by redesignating paragraphs (7) and (8) as paragraphs 
        (9) and (10), respectively; and
            (2) by inserting after paragraph (6) the following new 
        paragraph:
            ``(7) to the extent that fees are deposited in the Fund 
        pursuant to section 1349(c)(2), for costs associated with 
        carrying out systems for certification and identification under 
        subsections (b) and (d), respectively, of section 1349;''.

SEC. 7. PUBLICLY SEARCHABLE ONLINE REGISTRY.

    Part C of chapter 2 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 
U.S.C. 4081 et seq.), as amended by the preceding provisions of this 
Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``SEC. 1350. PUBLICLY SEARCHABLE ONLINE REGISTRY.

    ``(a) Establishment and Maintenance.--The Administrator shall 
provide for the establishment and maintenance of a national registry, 
organized by State of residence, of all companies and individuals 
providing services relating to the selling, writing, or servicing of 
flood insurance made available under this title or relating to the 
adjusting of claims under such flood insurance, which shall include all 
insurance companies participating in the Write Your Own program (as 
such term is defined in section 100202 of the Biggert-Waters Flood 
Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (42 U.S.C. 4004)) and all individuals 
participating in the direct servicing program, including--
            ``(1) all individuals selling and writing policies for 
        flood insurance coverage under this title;
            ``(2) all companies and individuals providing adjusting 
        services in connection with such flood insurance;
            ``(3) all companies and individuals providing engineering 
        services in connection with such flood insurance, 
        identification of engineers using the unique numerical 
        identifier assigned pursuant to section 1349(d), and 
        information regarding past performance in providing such 
        services, including identification of cases worked on, cases 
        that involved litigation, and any association of the engineer 
        with any company convicted of fraud;
            ``(4) information identifying all penalties, fines, and 
        criminal convictions of all such companies and individuals 
        relating to the operation of the national flood insurance 
        program; and
            ``(5) information identifying any conviction or penalty 
        assessed for fraud pertaining to any such company or 
        individual.
    ``(b) Public Availability.--The Administrator shall ensure that the 
registry required to be established and maintained under this section 
is publicly available online in a manner that provides the capacity to 
search the registry by the name of the company or individual.
    ``(c) Annual Review.--The Comptroller General of the United States 
shall conduct a review of the registry established and maintained under 
this section on a biennial basis to ensure its accuracy and currency.
    ``(d) Administration.--
            ``(1) Nonprofit organization.--The Administrator shall 
        enter into a contract with an appropriate nonprofit 
        organization to establish and maintain the registry under this 
        section.
            ``(2) Authorization of appropriations.--There is authorized 
        to be appropriated for payments under the contract under 
        paragraph (1) such sums as may be necessary for establishment 
        and maintenance of the national registry under this section.''.

SEC. 8. PENALTIES FOR FRAUD AND FALSE STATEMENTS IN THE NATIONAL FLOOD 
              INSURANCE PROGRAM.

    Part C of chapter 2 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 
U.S.C. 4081 et seq.), as amended by the preceding provisions of this 
Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new section:

``SEC. 1351. PENALTIES FOR FRAUD AND FALSE STATEMENTS IN THE NATIONAL 
              FLOOD INSURANCE PROGRAM.

    ``(a) Offense.--It shall be unlawful, in the preparation, 
production, or submission of any report in connection with the proving 
or adjusting of a claim for flood insurance coverage made available 
under this title, including any engineering report or claims adjustment 
report, to knowingly engage in the practice of engineering without a 
license, to knowingly forge any such report, or to knowingly make any 
materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation 
in such a report.
    ``(b) Penalties.--Whoever violates subsection (a) shall be subject 
to any one or more of the following penalties:
            ``(1) Criminal.--In the case of a person who is an 
        individual, imprisonment for not more than 18 months.
            ``(2) Civil.--Such civil penalties as the Administrator, 
        the Secretary of Homeland Security, and the Attorney General 
        shall, by regulation, establish, which may include civil 
        monetary penalties and fines, suspension and debarment from 
        participation in the National Flood Insurance Program, and such 
        other civil sanctions as such officials consider appropriate. 
        In the case of any fine or monetary penalty collected pursuant 
        to this paragraph, such amounts collected shall be paid to the 
        owner of the property for which the claim involved was made.
    ``(c) Exemption.--The offense under subsection (a) is exempted from 
the applicability of the fine provided under section 3571 of title 18, 
United States Code.''.

SEC. 9. WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION FOR EMPLOYEES.

    (a) In General.--Part C of chapter 2 of the National Flood 
Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 4081 et seq.), as amended by the 
preceding provisions of this Act, is further amended by adding at the 
end the following new section:

``SEC. 1352. WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTION FOR EMPLOYEES.

    ``(a) In General.--No person shall terminate or in any other way 
discriminate against, or cause to be terminated or discriminated 
against, any covered employee or any authorized representative of 
covered employees by reason of the fact that such employee or 
representative, whether at the initiative of the employee or in the 
ordinary course of the duties of the employee (or any person acting 
pursuant to a request of the employee), has--
            ``(1) provided, caused to be provided, or is about to 
        provide or cause to be provided, information to the employer, 
        the Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, or any other 
        State, local, or Federal, government authority or law 
        enforcement agency relating to any violation of, or any act or 
        omission that there are reasonable grounds to believe (whether 
        or not the employee actually has such belief) to be a violation 
        of, any provision of any law relating to the National Flood 
        Insurance Program or any rule, order, standard, or prohibition 
        prescribed by the Agency in connection with the National Flood 
        Insurance Program;
            ``(2) testified or will testify in any proceeding resulting 
        from the administration or enforcement of any provision of any 
        law relating to the National Flood Insurance Program or any 
        rule, order, standard, or prohibition prescribed by the Agency 
        in connection with the National Flood Insurance program;
            ``(3) filed, instituted, or caused to be filed or 
        instituted any proceeding under the National Flood Insurance 
        Program; or
            ``(4) objected to, or refused to participate in, any 
        activity, policy, practice, or assigned task that the employee 
        (or other such person) reasonably believed to be in violation 
        of any law, rule, order, standard, or prohibition, subject to 
        the jurisdiction of, or enforceable by, the Agency in 
        connection with the National Flood Insurance Program.
    ``(b) Procedures and Timetables.--
            ``(1) Complaint.--
                    ``(A) In general.--A person who believes that he or 
                she has been discharged or otherwise discriminated 
                against by any person in violation of subsection (a) 
                may, not later than 180 days after the date on which 
                such alleged violation occurs, file (or have any person 
                file on his or her behalf) a complaint with the 
                Administrator alleging such discharge or discrimination 
                and identifying the person responsible for such act.
                    ``(B) Actions of administrator.--Upon receipt of 
                such a complaint, the Administrator shall notify, in 
                writing, the person named in the complaint who is 
                alleged to have committed the violation, of--
                            ``(i) the filing of the complaint;
                            ``(ii) the allegations contained in the 
                        complaint;
                            ``(iii) the substance of evidence 
                        supporting the complaint; and
                            ``(iv) opportunities that will be afforded 
                        to such person under paragraph (2).
            ``(2) Investigation by administrator.--
                    ``(A) In general.--Not later than 60 days after the 
                date of receipt of a complaint filed under paragraph 
                (1), and after affording the complainant and the person 
                named in the complaint who is alleged to have committed 
                the violation that is the basis for the complaint an 
                opportunity to submit to the Administrator a written 
                response to the complaint and an opportunity to meet 
                with a representative of the Administrator to present 
                statements from witnesses, the Administrator shall--
                            ``(i) initiate an investigation and 
                        determine whether there is reasonable cause to 
                        believe that the complaint has merit; and
                            ``(ii) notify the complainant and the 
                        person alleged to have committed the violation 
                        of subsection (a), in writing, of such 
                        determination.
                    ``(B) Notice of relief available.--If the 
                Administrator concludes that there is reasonable cause 
                to believe that a violation of subsection (a) has 
                occurred, the Administrator shall, together with the 
                notice under subparagraph (A)(ii), issue a preliminary 
                order providing the relief prescribed by paragraph 
                (4)(B).
                    ``(C) Request for hearing.--Not later than 30 days 
                after the date of receipt of notification of a 
                determination of the Administrator under this 
                paragraph, either the person alleged to have committed 
                the violation or the complainant may file objections to 
                the findings or preliminary order, or both, and request 
                a hearing on the record. The filing of such objections 
                shall not operate to stay any reinstatement remedy 
                contained in the preliminary order. Any such hearing 
                shall be conducted expeditiously, and if a hearing is 
                not requested in such 30-day period, the preliminary 
                order shall be deemed a final order that is not subject 
                to judicial review.
            ``(3) Grounds for determination of complaints.--
                    ``(A) In general.--The Administrator shall dismiss 
                a complaint filed under this subsection, and shall not 
                conduct an investigation otherwise required under 
                paragraph (2), unless the complainant makes a prima 
                facie showing that any behavior described in paragraphs 
                (1) through (4) of subsection (a) was a contributing 
                factor in the unfavorable personnel action alleged in 
                the complaint.
                    ``(B) Rebuttal evidence.--Notwithstanding a finding 
                by the Administrator that the complainant has made the 
                showing required under subparagraph (A), no 
                investigation otherwise required under paragraph (2) 
                shall be conducted, if the employer demonstrates, by 
                clear and convincing evidence, that the employer would 
                have taken the same unfavorable personnel action in the 
                absence of that behavior.
                    ``(C) Evidentiary standards.--The Administrator may 
                determine that a violation of subsection (a) has 
                occurred only if the complainant demonstrates that any 
                behavior described in paragraphs (1) through (4) of 
                subsection (a) was a contributing factor in the 
                unfavorable personnel action alleged in the complaint. 
                Relief may not be ordered under subparagraph (A) if the 
                employer demonstrates by clear and convincing evidence 
                that the employer would have taken the same unfavorable 
                personnel action in the absence of that behavior.
            ``(4) Issuance of final orders; review procedures.--
                    ``(A) Timing.--Not later than 120 days after the 
                date of conclusion of any hearing under paragraph (2), 
                the Administrator shall issue a final order providing 
                the relief prescribed by this paragraph or denying the 
                complaint. At any time before issuance of a final 
                order, a proceeding under this subsection may be 
                terminated on the basis of a settlement agreement 
                entered into by the Administrator, the complainant, and 
                the person alleged to have committed the violation.
                    ``(B) Penalties.--
                            ``(i) Order of administrator.--If, in 
                        response to a complaint filed under paragraph 
                        (1), the Administrator determines that a 
                        violation of subsection (a) has occurred, the 
                        Administrator shall order the person who 
                        committed such violation--
                                    ``(I) to take affirmative action to 
                                abate the violation;
                                    ``(II) to reinstate the complainant 
                                to his or her former position, together 
                                with compensation, including twice the 
                                amount of back pay due, and restore the 
                                terms, conditions, and privileges 
                                associated with his or her employment; 
                                and
                                    ``(III) to provide compensatory 
                                damages to the complainant.
                            ``(ii) Penalty.--If an order is issued 
                        under clause (i), the Administrator, at the 
                        request of the complainant, shall assess 
                        against the person against whom the order is 
                        issued, a sum equal to the aggregate amount of 
                        all costs and expenses (including attorney fees 
                        and expert witness fees) reasonably incurred, 
                        as determined by the Administrator, by the 
                        complainant for, or in connection with, the 
                        bringing of the complaint upon which the order 
                        was issued.
                    ``(C) Penalty for frivolous claims.--If the 
                Administrator finds that a complaint under paragraph 
                (1) is frivolous or has been brought in bad faith, the 
                Administrator may award to the prevailing employer a 
                reasonable attorney fee, not exceeding $1,000, to be 
                paid by the complainant.
                    ``(D) De novo review.--
                            ``(i) Failure of the administrator to 
                        act.--If the Administrator has not issued a 
                        final order within 210 days after the date of 
                        filing of a complaint under this subsection, or 
                        within 90 days after the date of receipt of a 
                        written determination, the complainant may 
                        bring an action at law or equity for de novo 
                        review in the appropriate district court of the 
                        United States having jurisdiction, which shall 
                        have jurisdiction over such an action without 
                        regard to the amount in controversy, and which 
                        action shall, at the request of either party to 
                        such action, be tried by the court with a jury.
                            ``(ii) Procedures.--A proceeding under 
                        clause (i) shall be governed by the same legal 
                        burdens of proof specified in paragraph (3). 
                        The court shall have jurisdiction to grant all 
                        relief necessary to make the employee whole, 
                        including injunctive relief and compensatory 
                        damages, including--
                                    ``(I) reinstatement with the same 
                                seniority status that the employee 
                                would have had, but for the discharge 
                                or discrimination;
                                    ``(II) compensation in the amount 
                                equal to twice the amount of back pay 
                                due, with interest; and
                                    ``(III) compensation for any 
                                special damages sustained as a result 
                                of the discharge or discrimination, 
                                including litigation costs, expert 
                                witness fees, and reasonable attorney 
                                fees.
                    ``(E) Other appeals.--Unless the complainant brings 
                an action under subparagraph (D), any person adversely 
                affected or aggrieved by a final order issued under 
                subparagraph (A) may file a petition for review of the 
                order in the United States Court of Appeals for the 
                circuit in which the violation with respect to which 
                the order was issued, allegedly occurred or the circuit 
                in which the complainant resided on the date of such 
                violation, not later than 60 days after the date of the 
                issuance of the final order of the Administrator under 
                subparagraph (A). Review shall conform to chapter 7 of 
                title 5, United States Code. The commencement of 
                proceedings under this subparagraph shall not, unless 
                ordered by the court, operate as a stay of the order. 
                An order of the Administrator with respect to which 
                review could have been obtained under this subparagraph 
                shall not be subject to judicial review in any criminal 
                or other civil proceeding.
            ``(5) Failure to comply with order.--
                    ``(A) Actions by the administrator.--If any person 
                has failed to comply with a final order issued under 
                paragraph (4), the Administrator may file a civil 
                action in the United States district court for the 
                district in which the violation was found to have 
                occurred, or in the United States district court for 
                the District of Columbia, to enforce such order. In 
                actions brought under this paragraph, the district 
                courts shall have jurisdiction to grant all appropriate 
                relief including injunctive relief and compensatory 
                damages.
                    ``(B) Civil actions to compel compliance.--A person 
                on whose behalf an order was issued under paragraph (4) 
                may commence a civil action against the person to whom 
                such order was issued to require compliance with such 
                order. The appropriate United States district court 
                shall have jurisdiction, without regard to the amount 
                in controversy or the citizenship of the parties, to 
                enforce such order.
                    ``(C) Award of costs authorized.--The court, in 
                issuing any final order under this paragraph, may award 
                costs of litigation (including reasonable attorney and 
                expert witness fees) to any party, whenever the court 
                determines such award is appropriate.
                    ``(D) Mandamus proceedings.--Any nondiscretionary 
                duty imposed by this section shall be enforceable in a 
                mandamus proceeding brought under section 1361 of title 
                28, United States Code.
    ``(c) Unenforceability of Certain Agreements.--
            ``(1) No waiver of rights and remedies.--Except as provided 
        under paragraph (3), and notwithstanding any other provision of 
        law, the rights and remedies provided for in this section may 
        not be waived by any agreement, policy, form, or condition of 
        employment, including by any pre-dispute arbitration agreement.
            ``(2) No pre-dispute arbitration agreements.--Except as 
        provided under paragraph (3), and notwithstanding any other 
        provision of law, no pre-dispute arbitration agreement shall be 
        valid or enforceable to the extent that it requires arbitration 
        of a dispute arising under this section.
            ``(3) Exception.--Notwithstanding paragraphs (1) and (2), 
        an arbitration provision in a collective bargaining agreement 
        shall be enforceable as to disputes arising under subsection 
        (a)(4), unless the Administrator determines, by rule, that such 
        provision is inconsistent with the purposes of this title.
    ``(d) Definitions.--For purposes of this section, the following 
definitions shall apply:
            ``(1) Administrator.--The term `Administrator' means the 
        Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
            ``(2) Agency.--The term `Agency' means the Federal 
        Emergency Management Agency.
            ``(3) Covered employee.--The term `covered employee' means 
        any individual performing tasks related to the National Flood 
        Insurance Program, including such employees of--
                    ``(A) the Agency;
                    ``(B) the Department of Homeland Security;
                    ``(C) an insurance company participating in the 
                Write Your Own program (as such term is defined in 
                section 100202 of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance 
                Reform Act of 2012 (42 U.S.C. 4004));
                    ``(D) a third-party administrator for an insurance 
                company described in subparagraph (C);
                    ``(E) an engineer, or engineering company, engaged 
                in providing engineering services in connection with 
                the National Flood Insurance Program, or a sub-
                contractor of such an engineer or company; and
                    ``(F) a claims adjuster, or claims adjusting 
                company, engaged in providing claims adjusting services 
                in connection with the National Flood Insurance 
                Program, or a sub-contractor of such an claims adjuster 
                or company.''.
    (b) Availability of Flood Insurance Fund.--Subsection (a) of 
section 1310 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 U.S.C. 
4017(a)), as amended by section 6(b) of this Act, is further amended by 
inserting after paragraph (7) the following new paragraph:
            ``(7) for penalties, relief, and costs under section 
        1352(b), to the extent ordered to be paid by the Administrator 
        or any officer or employee of the Federal Emergency Management 
        Agency;''.

SEC. 10. ENGINEERING FIRM INDEPENDENCE.

    Part C of chapter 2 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 
U.S.C. 4081 et seq.), as amended by the preceding provisions of this 
Act, is further amended by adding at the end the following new 
sections:

``SEC. 1353. SELECTION AND REPLACEMENT OF CLAIMS ADJUSTING AND 
              ENGINEERING COMPANIES.

    ``(a) In the case of an insurance company participating in the 
Write Your Own program (as such term is defined in section 100202 of 
the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (42 U.S.C. 4004)) 
that engages any adjusting company or engineering company in the 
adjustment of a claim for losses resulting from structural damage to a 
property under a policy for flood insurance coverage made available 
under this title--
            ``(1) no representative of the adjusting company or 
        engineering company may visit the property before the 
        expiration of the 30-day period beginning upon the date that 
        the insurance company provides notice to the owner of the 
        property that such adjusting or engineering company has been 
        engaged, unless the owner, in writing, consents to an earlier 
        visit; and
            ``(2) if the policyholder submits to the insurance company 
        written notice of disapproval of the adjusting or engineering 
        company selected by such insurance company before a 
        representative of the adjusting or engineering company first 
        visits the property, such insurance company shall--
                    ``(A) within 30 days after the policyholder's 
                notification of such disapproval--
                            ``(i) submit to the Administrator notice of 
                        the policyholders notification of such 
                        disapproval; and
                            ``(ii) submit to the policyholder a list of 
                        not less than three other adjusting or 
                        engineering companies, as the case may be, that 
                        are unaffiliated with the disapproved company 
                        to conduct the activities involved in adjusting 
                        such claim; and
                    ``(B) replace the original adjusting or engineering 
                company with the company from such list selected by the 
                policyholder, if the policyholder notifies the 
                insurance company and the Administrator, in writing, of 
                the policyholder's selected company within 30 days 
                after receiving the list required under subparagraph 
                (A).

``SEC. 1354. ENGINEERING FIRM INDEPENDENCE.

    ``(a) In General.--It shall be unlawful, in participating in the 
Write Your Own program (as such term is defined in section 100202 of 
the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (42 U.S.C. 
4004)), to engage in any act or practice that violates the independence 
of an engineering company or individual engineer providing engineering 
services in connection with flood insurance coverage made available 
under this title.
    ``(b) Violations.--For purposes of subsection (a), acts or 
practices that violate the independence of an engineering company or 
individual engineer shall include--
            ``(1) the preparation or submission of any engineering 
        report in connection with a claim for damages under flood 
        insurance coverage in which a person with an interest in the 
        award of such damages compensates, coerces, extorts, colludes, 
        instructs, induces, bribes, or intimidates a person, 
        engineering firm, or other entity responsible for assessing 
        damages for the purpose of causing the damages assigned to be 
        based on any factor other than the independent judgment of the 
        engineering company or individual engineer;
            ``(2) mischaracterizing, or suborning any 
        mischaracterization of, the damages involved in any such claim;
            ``(3) seeking to influence an engineer or otherwise to 
        encourage a targeted value of damages in order to facilitate 
        the making of a report; and
            ``(4) withholding or threatening to withhold timely payment 
        for an engineering report or for engineering services rendered.
    ``(c) Exceptions.--The requirements of subsection (b) shall not be 
construed as prohibiting an insurance company participating in the 
Write Your Own program, a claims adjusting company, or an engineering 
company from asking an engineer to undertake one or more of the 
following:
            ``(1) Consider additional information.
            ``(2) Provide further detail, substantiation, or 
        explanation for an assessment of damages.
            ``(3) Correct errors in an engineering report.
    ``(d) Prohibitions on Conflicts of Interest.--No engineer engaged 
by an insurance company participating in the Write Your Own program to 
assess flood damages to a property covered by flood insurance made 
available under this title may have an ownership or financial interest 
in--
            ``(1) such insurance company, any claims adjusting company, 
        or any other company, other than the company that employs such 
        engineer, that is connected with assessing such damages; or
            ``(2) the property being assessed.
    ``(e) Mandatory Reporting.--An insurance company participating in 
the Write Your Own program which knows, upon or before submitting to 
the Administrator a claim for damages under flood insurance coverage 
made available under this title, of a violation of the independence 
standards under this section, may not submit such a claim unless the 
insurance company includes, together with such claim, a certification 
that the violation involved does not materially mistake the value of 
the damages and documentation to support such claim.''.

SEC. 11. GAO REPORTS.

    (a) Report on Effects of Global Warming on Flood Insurance Program 
Solvency.--Not later than the expiration of the 18-month period 
beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller 
General of the United States shall submit to the Congress a report 
analyzing the effects of global warming on the fiscal solvency of the 
National Flood Insurance Program.
    (b) Report on WYO Companies.--The Comptroller General of the United 
States shall conduct a study of claims under flood insurance coverage 
provided through insurance companies participating in the Write Your 
Own program of the National Flood Insurance Program pursuant to losses 
resulting from Hurricane Sandy of 2012, which shall determine--
            (1) how much profit such insurers made pursuant to such 
        claims;
            (2) how many of such claims were made and processed; and
            (3) the amount of each such claim that was approved and 
        paid.
Not later than the expiration of the 12-month period beginning on the 
date of the enactment of this Act, the Comptroller General shall submit 
a report to the Congress regarding the conclusions of the study 
conducted pursuant to this subsection.

SEC. 12. REGULATIONS.

    Not later than the expiration of the 12-month period beginning on 
the date of the enactment of this Act, the Administrator of the Federal 
Emergency Management Agency shall issue regulations necessary to carry 
out this Act and the amendments made by this Act.
                                 <all>