House extends national flood insurance program
The House of Representatives passed a short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program, but several real estate groups called for a more long-term solution. The National Association of Realtors "still believes a longer-term extension is needed to ensure access to affordable flood insurance for millions of homeowners," said NAR President Ron Phipps. "NAR strongly supports the NFIP and believes that a five-year extension of the program’s authority to issue flood insurance is essential to a properly functioning real estate market." The NFIP expires Nov. 18. The Senate passed the continuing resolution last week. President Obama is expected to sign it. Both houses are working on a longer-term solution that would extend the legislation five years and include other reforms. The reforms would phase out subsidies for many properties and provide for greater enforcement of the mandatory purchase requirement, according to Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America. It also would provide for a transition for properties newly mapped into a flood zone. The Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America praised the vote. “It is vital to our economy that there not be any interruption in the NFIP, and today’s action thankfully ensures that Congress will have more time to consider their long-term extension and reform efforts,” said Charles Symington, IIABA senior vice president of government affairs. "With almost exactly three weeks left before the expiration of the NFIP, we urge Senate leadership to quickly bring this bill to the full Senate floor for consideration to allow both 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 are hopeful that the House and Senate will finally push this over the finish line." SmarterSafer.org also called for a more permanent solution. "This year, the United States has seen numerous disasters, including record flooding along the Mississippi River and massive flooding in the Northeast as a result of Hurricane Irene. 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," said the coalition that supports environmentally responsible approaches national disaster policy. Write to Kerry Curry. Follow her on Twitter @communicatorKLC.