Once again the fate of the nation’s flood insurance program is coming down to the wire. Authorization for the program is set to expire Friday, Nov. 30 unless Congress acts.
The most likely action will be another short-term extension.
Sens. John Kennedy (R-La.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) have introduced short-term legislation to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for six months until the end of next May before it expires on Nov. 30.
That reauthorization does not include any reforms to the program.
“I am increasingly frustrated that we haven’t made long-term fixes to the NFIP. However, this program is absolutely necessary to more than five million American homes and businesses,” said Kennedy.
Menendez and Kennedy both said the program needs comprehensive reform. “But with the NFIP set to expire in about two weeks and no movement on the horizon, it’s critical that we prevent a lapse that would disrupt the real estate market and leave thousands of families uninsured and vulnerable,” said Menendez.
It is possible Congress could go another route and extend the NFIP through the process of renewing funding for the government, which must be done by Dec. 7. Under that scenario, there could be a week-long lapse of the program. During any lapse, NFIP policies would remain in force and the NFIP would cover claims if a storm were to strike. But insurance agents could not sell new policies or renew expiring policies.
Despite years of debate and proposals to overhaul the program and encourage more private insurance, reforms have stalled. Instead, Congress has passed seven short-term extensions. Lawmakers let the program lapse in 2017 and 2018.
By Andrew G. Simpson | November 19, 2018