The House of Representatives has passed another temporary extension of the National Flood Insurance Program until Sept. 30, 2010.
The program has been suspended since May 31st, making the issue of new policies impossible. In this extension, reauthorization provisions have been embedded into legislation relating to jobless benefits and tax breaks – legislation that the Senate has already voted down twice.
The newly-passed House bill, HR 5569, was sponsored by Representative Maxine Waters (D – CA) and Representative Walter Jones (R – NC) but the Senate must still act upon it.
The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America (Big “I”) commended the House for its vote and urged the Senate to act quickly.
Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs, told the press. “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.”
Since the end of May, the program has not been able to issue new or renewal flood policies, though it has still been paying claims for existing policy holders. This is the fourth time in the last year that the program has been interrupted because Congress failed to reauthorize it for an extended length of time.
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.