The U.S. House of Representatives will begin debate today on legislation to reform and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program, H.R. 1309, the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011.
The bill mirrors many of the policy recommendations made by NAMIC chairman Sandy Parrillo in testimony before the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity earlier this year. It would move the NFIP towards fiscal stability by allowing for more risk-based pricing of coverage, modernizing flood maps to more accurately determine which properties are at risk, and giving the NFIP the authority to deny coverage for repetitive loss properties whose owners refuse mitigation assistance.
H.R. 1309 was introduced by Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL) who chairs the subcommittee.
NAMIC strongly supports H.R. 1309, but an amendment proposed by Rep. Candice Miller, (R-MI) that would eliminate the NFIP threatens to scuttle the bill and undo the progress made on reforming the NFIP. Miller’s amendment would terminate the NFIP as of January 1, 2012, less than six months from today. NAMIC organized a joint opposition effort against the Miller Amendment, sending a letter along with 20 other organizations to members of Congress outlining our opposition.
Miller’s amendment purports to get the federal government out of the insurance business, but its real effect would leave millions of homes and business owners vulnerable to flood losses, and the taxpayers on the hook for billions more in disaster recovery assistance. Terminating the NFIP is simply not responsible public policy. Congress created the NFIP in 1968 specifically to address flood risks because no viable market exists.
NAMIC has been working diligently to oppose the Miller Amendment while supporting the underlying legislation. With House passage, all eyes will be on the Senate to act in advance of the NFIP’s current September 30 expiration date. To date the Senate Banking Committee has held two hearings on NFIP reform, but neither hearing included witnesses representing the insurance industry. The committee is expected to produce its own version of NFIP reform bill, but as of today, July 12, 2011, no legislation has been introduced.
Direct questions to NAMIC Assistant Vice President of Federal Affairs Matt Gannon.
Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:38:50 PM. Modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 12:42:10 PM.
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