The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies applauded the House Financial Services Committee and its leadership for today’s passage of bipartisan legislation to extend the National Flood Insurance Program for five years and enact much-needed, commonsense reforms to the program.
“The NFIP reform legislation will pave the way toward ensuring Americans can protect themselves and their families from flood losses,” said Jimi Grande, senior vice president of government affairs for NAMIC. “In recent years, and even today, we’ve seen that most communities in America face some risk of flooding, which makes a strong and stable National Flood Insurance Program more important than ever.”
In addition to the stability created by a long-term extension of the program, the legislation would provide funding for the National Flood Mapping program to help communities better understand their risks. The bill includes new tools to help the program better account for flood risks in urban areas along with a new classification for properties protected by levees. Also reflected in the legislative language are provisions to increase the role of private insurance companies in the marketplace by ensuring those who opt for private coverage can return to the NFIP in the future without penalty.
Importantly, the legislation offers increased funding for the pre-disaster hazard mitigation program and ensures that all flood insurance policyholders, including those receiving assistance, are made aware of the actuarial risk they face from flooding.
“The best way to deal with flood losses is to prevent them, and the key to mitigation is understanding the risk you face,” Grande said. “Whether through a community-wide mitigation project or small steps a homeowner can take to reduce their risk, efforts to lessen the potential loss from flood can have a significant impact.”
With the approval of the Financial Services Committee, the legislation now heads to the full House floor. Grande said NAMIC is urging lawmakers to support the bipartisan effort and that the association is urging the Senate to follow the example of Reps. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., and Patrick McHenry, R-N.C., who lead the Financial Services Committee.
“Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry should be commended for their leadership and their willingness to work together for the American people,” Grande said. “We hope to see this same spirit of compromise on the House floor and the Senate will be able to follow suit and overcome the gridlock that has stalled other NFIP reform efforts.”