The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) is commending the responsiveness of Congress and President Bush for approving legislation that reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
President Bush signed the enacting legislation into law Jan. 13. The bill reinstates the NFIP whose authority had inadvertently expired Dec. 31 because of a bureaucratic oversight by government officials.
“The new Congress has done the right thing by immediately addressing an oversight from the last Congress and passing the essential flood reauthorization bill on an expedited schedule and in a bipartisan manner,” says IIABA CEO Bob Rusbuldt. “This was the first item of business on IIABA’s 2003 legislative agenda, and we are very pleased that Congress and the President also realized the urgency of reauthorizing this critical program relied upon by more than four million consumers.
“We look forward to working with Congress and the Administration to address future legislation that will similarly ensure a strong economy as well as peace of mind for consumers,” adds Rusbuldt. “Hopefully, this is a sign of good things to come.”
IIABA has been actively addressing this matter with both House and Senate members and staff since it was determined in late December that procedural oversights by government officials had left the NFIP unauthorized for 2003. The legislation—the National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (HR 11)—was introduced Jan. 7 by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) and Ranking Member Barney Frank (D-Mass.).
The House approved the measure Jan. 8 and the Senate followed suit, passing the bill the next day. The legislation extends the program’s authority retroactively to the beginning of this year to cover any breaks in coverage resulting from the program’s temporary lapse.
Until President Bush signed the bill into law today, no new flood insurance policies could be written and no coverage changes or renewals could be approved on existing policies.
“IIABA strongly commends Reps. Oxley and Frank for their leadership on this issue,” says Rusbuldt. “Their diligence and the cohesiveness of both the House and Senate leadership helped avert serious, long-term disruptions to policyholders, homeowners, community bankers, independent insurance agents, the real estate marketplace and the national economy.”
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