Bill extending National Flood Insurance Program to Nov. 18 approved

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Legislation extending the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to Nov. 18 passed today (Oct. 4), just days after the federal program, nearing expiration, was extended for a week.

The latest extension earned the approval of insurance groups, although one national coalition says temporary extensions are not enough.

The bill (H.R. 2608) provides short-term appropriated funding for discretionary government operations, including NFIP, through Nov. 18. It passed in the U.S. House of Representatives 352-66. President Obama is expected to sign to bill later today (Oct. 4), according to the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (Big I). The bill was passed by the Senate late last week.

The House and Senate are working on legislation that would provide a five-year extension of the NFIP, which protects about 5.4 million property owners whose properties are in flood-prone areas. The House overwhelmingly passed its version of the legislation (H.R. 1309) July 12. The Senate Committee on Banking passed its version, the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act, but the full Senate must vote on the bill, before the House and Senate can agree on a final bill.

Today’s action buys Congress more time for work on the long-term reform and extension effort,” said John Prible, vice president of federal government affairs for Big I, in a statement. “We now urge Senate leadership to quickly bring the reform bill to the full Senate floor for consideration to allow the House and Senate enough time to reconcile their two bills. We are now closer to achieving a long-term reform and extension bill than at any point in recent memory and we urge Congressional leadership to finally push this over the finish line.”

Temporary extensions of the program do not provide Americans with the coverage they need if natural disasters strike, according to SmarterSafer.org, a national coalition supporting environmentally-responsible, fiscally-sound approaches that promote public safety.

While Congress delays taking action to improve the NFIP, the American people are left without broadly supported reforms that will better protect their lives and property, save taxpayer dollars and promote public safety,” SmarterSafer.org said in its statement. “Five-day fixes and delays only make the troubled program more unstable.”

Over the last two years, the NFIP has been subject to numerous short extensions, creating uncertainty and confusion for property owners, real estate agents and others, according to advocates. Twice in the last year the program’s funding expired, meaning short-term lapses. Congress in both cases approved retroactive extensions.

 

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