The House of Representatives has passed another temporary extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until Sept. 30, 2010.
The program has been suspended from issuing new policies since May 31. Reauthorization provisions have been embedded in controversial legislation on jobless benefits and tax breaks that has been twice voted down in the Senate.
The newly-passed House bill, HR 5569, was sponsored Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Rep. Walter Jones, R-N.C.
The Senate must still act on it.
The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (Big “I”) commended the House for its vote and urged the Senate to act quickly.
“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. 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,” said Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs.
The program has been unable to issue new or renewal policies since it was shut down May 31, although it is still paying claims. It is the fourth time in the past year that the program has been interrupted due to the failure of Congress to reauthorize it for an extended period.
The Big “I” and other industry groups hope that Congress will move beyond temporary extensions and pass legislation that authorizes the program for five years and makes certain reforms to it.