As expected, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed with a Senate a measure extending the federal flood insurance program for 60 days until July 31.
President Obama is expected to sign the legislation into law before the current authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program expires at the end of today, May 31.
“Today’s House vote helps ensure that there will be no lapse of the National Flood Insurance Program, and enacts the first of many much needed reforms to the program,” said Jimi Grande , senior vice president for federal affairs , National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies.
The 60-day extension legislation contains one policy provision ending NFIP’s premium subsidies for second homes and vacation homes. This provision was included in order to ensure the measure gained unanimous consent in the Senate and is also a part of the long-term extension and reform bills in the House and Senate, according to Charles E. Symington Jr., senior vice president for government affairs, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America.
The short-term deal was struck after Senate leaders agreed they would take up longer-term authorization and reforms of the NFIP later this month.
Both the House and Senate have introduced legislation that would reauthorize the NFIP through 2016. The House passed H.R. 1309 with a 406-22 bipartisan vote in 2011. The Senate Banking Committee has approved its own reform bill, S. 1940, the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act, last September, however it has never made it to the Senate floor for consideration despite the urging of 41 senators in February. That floor consideration is now supposed to happen this month.
“We are pleased that the House voted to concur with the Senate’s 60-day NFIP extension,” said Ben McKay, senior vice president of federal government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association. “However, this only delays the fundamental debate over the future of the flood insurance program. We remain hopeful that the Senate will schedule floor time for their long-term NFIP reauthorization and reform bill in June.”
The NFIP has been caught in a cycle of short-term extensions and subsequent lapses since 2008. The NFIP expired four times in 2010 alone.
The Atlantic hurricane season officially begins tomorrow.
“We’ve already seen two named storms in the Atlantic before the 2012 hurricane season has even begun, which should serve as ample reminder of the need for a strong and viable NFIP. We urge the Senate to keep up the momentum by voting on their bill as soon as they convene next week,” said NAMIC’s Grande.