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NFIP Reauthorized with Continued Calls for Reform

Flooded Residential Street 480x377
July 26, 2018

Editor’s update: Following the original July 26, 2018, publication of this article, on July 31, 2018, the Senate voted to extend authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until November 30, 2018, and President Donald Trump is expected to sign before the program lapses.

The US House of Representatives has extended the NFIP until November 30, 2018. The program is set to expire July 31, 2018, and awaits action in the US Senate. Many inside and outside of the insurance industry have pushed for long-term reforms to the program, such as "enhancing existing technology, streamlining and simplifying the NFIP for policyholders, and developing private market options."1

In a statement, Nat Wienecke, senior vice president of federal government relations at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) said, "This four-month extension provides homeowners and businesses with certainty through [the current] hurricane season. However, PCI and our members urge Congress to pass a long-term bill with reforms that will provide more consumer options and greater financial stability to the NFIP."

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), without congressional reauthorization, FEMA cannot issue new policies, renew existing policies, or increase coverage on existing policies. FEMA also pointed to the existence of serious long-term consequences surrounding reauthorization failure in terms of floodplain management, mitigation activities, and grant awards, and, if needed, FEMA said, the NFIP cannot borrow from the US Treasury to pay claims for existing policies.

In a statement, the White House press secretary said that reforms are needed to ensure the NFIP's long-term viability. As currently structured, the NFIP cannot handle catastrophic losses like those caused by the devastating hurricanes in 2017.

In 2017, H.R. 2874, the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, was passed, which included several reforms. According to the press secretary, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act would help develop the private market for flood insurance.

Footnote

  1. Marsh and McLennan Companies subsidiaries Marsh, Torrent Technologies, Guy Carpenter, and Oliver Wyman; Reforming the National Flood Insurance Program (December 2015). https://www.marsh.com/us/insights/research/reforming-the-national-flood-insurance-program.html
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