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5/16/19 - House Ok's Short Term Flooding insurance extension

WASHINGTON – May 15, 2019 – The House voted Tuesday to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through Sept. 30, 2019.

The Senate must also approve the measure before May 31 – the date NFIP is set to expire – to avoid lapses in government-backed flood insurance policies. After that, President Donald Trump must sign it.

 

"Thanks to Realtors®, the Senate is well aware of the deadline for flood insurance," says Austin Perez, senior policy representative at the National Association of Realtors (NAR). "There seems to be broad bipartisan agreement not to let the program lapse on May 31."

The House passed the four-month NFIP extension as a standalone bill but also proposed wrapping it into a larger disaster relief package for the Midwest and Puerto Rico, which have suffered from recent floods and hurricanes. Realtors on Capitol Hill this week will urge their Congressional representatives to avoid a lapse of the NFIP and work toward a long-term reauthorization that includes meaningful reforms to the financially beleaguered program, which is billions of dollars in debt.

 

"With that basic message, Realtors are well-positioned on a complex issue," Perez says. "We just need to keep up the pressure for Congress to reauthorize and reform the program long-term."

Florida has a vested interest in flood insurance. More Sunshine State homeowners have NFIP policies than any other state.

NAR estimates that the industry could lose 40,000 home sales per month if NFIP expires. The program provides flood insurance to more than 5 million homeowners in 22,000 communities across the country. Federal law requires the purchase of flood insurance for a federally backed mortgage in special flood hazard areas designated by FEMA.

 

Private flood insurance is also available in many high-risk areas, and regulations requiring lenders to accept private insurance under strict conditions go into effect at the end of July. However, NFIP may still be the only option for some homeowners.

Among other things, NAR advocates for a long-term program reauthorization in addition to removing federal barriers to a more robust private market for flood insurance. The association supports a number of specific NFIP reforms, including improved flood maps to better identify properties at high risk of flooding, pricing flood insurance closer to the specific flood risk of each individual property, and federal assistance, including grants and low-interest loans for owners, to mitigate their properties' flood risk.

© 2019 Florida Realtors®

 

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