Posted on 23 Jun 2010
The U.S. House passed an extension to the National Flood Insurance Program, the first step in restoring the program, which expired May 31. The bill still requires action by the U.S. Senate and President Barack Obama before the program is renewed.
The latest extension would provide the NFIP with funding through Sept. 30, setting the stage for another possible expiration.
The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (Big I) said the House’s passage of H.R. 5569, the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010, sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), is an important step.
“The program has been expired since May 31, putting millions of consumers at risk from the economic dangers of flood right in the midst of the hurricane season and storm season in the Midwest,” said Charles Symington, Big I senior vice president of government affairs, in a statement. “The expiration has also threatened to wreak havoc in both the real estate and insurance markets during a period of great economic difficulty. It is vital that the program be extended and we therefore urge the Senate to act on this bill without delay.”
Industry organizations have been advocating for a long-term extension, saying the five short-term extensions and two expirations in the last year make it difficult for property owners. Without the NFIP in place, sales of land in flood areas cannot be closed on and property owners with existing NFIP policies cannot file claims during the months when flooding is most likely. Hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
“More than three weeks into the 2010 hurricane season, which started on June 1 and scientists are forecasting will be very active, millions of homeowners and small businesses are in flood insurance limbo,” said John Prible, Big I vice president of federal government affairs. “We are increasingly frustrated by these repeated short term extensions and the periods of expiration that sometimes result from them. While we commend the House action today, a more permanent solution in the form of a long term extension of the program is a top priority.”