BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — After months largely silent on the issue, Gov. Bobby Jindal is urging congressional leaders to stop higher flood insurance premiums from hitting homeowners and businesses.

Jindal sent a letter late Tuesday to the Republican and Democratic leaders of both the U.S. House and Senate, asking them to support an immediate delay in the increases set in motion by a 2012 revamp of the federal flood insurance program.

The Republican governor described the insurance rate hikes that were tied to the program overhaul as "irrational, not actuarial."

It was Jindal's first public and direct intervention to seek relief from the steep rate increases. Other state officials and business leaders have warned for months that soaring premiums could severely damage local economies.

About 480,000 Louisiana homes and businesses have federal flood insurance.

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