Senate Extends Flood Insurance for 1 Year; Measure Goes to House

September 22, 2010

The U.S. Senate last night passed by unanimous consent a measure extending the National Flood Insurance Program for one year until Sept. 30, 2011.

The Senate one-year reauthorization must now pass the House of Representatives, which in July passed a measure extending the program for five years.

Without House and Senate agreement on an extension, the program covering more than 5 million Americans will expire in about a week, on Sept. 30, 2010.

The Senate measure falls short of the longer reauthorization urged by insurers and agents and does not include reforms designed to reform the program that is currently $18 billion in debt.

“This does not change the need for a long-term reauthorization that includes fundamental reform of the program and prevents the patchwork of short-term fixes that have allowed the NFIP to lapse four times this year,” commented Marguerite Tortorello, senior vice president, Public Affairs, for the insurance group, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).

“Unfortunately, recent years have provided ample evidence of the destruction left behind by floods that highlight the urgency and importance of extending the NFIP,” said John Prible, Independent Insurance Agents Brokers of America, vice president for federal government affairs. “With the program set to once again expire Sept. 30, the Big “I” urges the House to follow the Senate’s lead and immediately adopt the Senate-passed legislation.”

Since 2008, NFIP has been operating under a series of short-term extensions. This year alone, Congress has let the program lapse four times. During these lapses, new flood insurance policies could not be written, leaving homeowners vulnerable and delaying thousands of real estate transactions per day in flood-prone regions.

The latest one-year extension (S3814) was sponsored by Sen. David Vitter, R-La., and co-sponsored by Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson, R-Tex., Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.

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