Posted on 10 May 2010
On Friday, Congressman Barney Frank introduced legislation to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through September, providing Congress with more time to address the troubled program.
The insurance program, important to more than 5 million homes and businesses in flood plains, has been in debt since major hurricanes in 2004 and 2005. Reform efforts stalled in Congress last year.
"This program is too critical to our housing recovery to be allowed to lapse," Democratic Representative Maxine Waters, who chairs a subcommittee working on the issue, said in a statement.
Twice this year, the program -- which provides flood coverage through more than 90 companies that sell policies and collect premiums for a fee -- has lapsed, affecting people trying to buy homes in flood-prone areas, Waters said.
Insurers like Allstate, Travelers, Hartford Financial Services and Fidelity National Financial are closely watching the debate.
The House Financial Services Committee, which is led by Frank, is working on reauthorizing the program for five years and wants to make a series of changes to help it work better.
Frank's bill would extend the program's ability to write and renew flood insurance policies from its May 31 deadline through September 30.