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Matt Brady

Matt Brady
Public Affairs Director
Federal Affairs

Telephone: 202.580.6742
mbrady@namic.org

Lisa Floreancig

Lisa Floreancig
Public Affairs Director
State Affairs

Telephone: 317.876.4246
lfloreancig@namic.org

NAMIC: All Eyes on Senate as House Passes Flood Insurance Reform

WASHINGTON (July 12, 2011) The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) hailed the U.S. House of Representatives today for passing legislation to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, and urged the Senate to take up similar legislation.

“Today’s vote represents a major step in bringing fiscal responsibility to the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Jimi Grande, senior vice president of federal and political affairs for NAMIC. “The reforms included in HR 1309 will help put the NFIP on the path towards financial stability and off the backs of the taxpayers.”

Introduced by Rep. Judy Biggert (R-IL), H,R. 1309 the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011, phases in more accurate risk-based pricing for flood insurance, and establishes a Technical Mapping Advisory Council to address the concerns of members of Congress and their constituents, many of whom find themselves living in a floodplain under the new maps and dispute the findings. It also increases the authority of the program to deny coverage for repetitive loss properties whose owners refuse mitigation assistance.

“These commonsense, bipartisan reforms will help the NFIP address problems that have plagued the program for years,” said Grande. “For the NFIP to survive, it must be able to price coverage to reflect the risk of flooding facing a property, and cut the losses from those properties that will not undertake any mitigation efforts despite repeated flooding. In establishing the new Advisory Council, the legislation also ensures that local communities will have a role in the flood mapping process to ensure that every homeowner is made aware of their flood risk.”

The bill passed by a vote of 406 to 22.

An amendment by Rep. Candice Miller (R-MI) to eliminate the NFIP was soundly defeated. “The Miller amendment would have been devastating for taxpayers and consumers, and defeating it was a top priority” Grande said. “There is no viable private market for flood insurance, and eliminating the NFIP won’t create one. Instead, the Miller amendment would have left millions of homes and businesses at risk of flood losses and increased the need for taxpayer-funded federal aid in the aftermath of a natural disaster.”

Miller’s amendment, which would have terminated the NFIP less than six months from today, was rejected by the House with 384 members voting against it.

Importantly, H.R. 1309 would also extend the NFIP for five years beyond its current Sept. 30 expiration date. The program was allowed to lapse repeatedly in 2010 before congress passed the current extension, Grande noted, causing significant uncertainty and disruptions in the market.

“Given the fragile state of our economy, we can no longer afford the stop-and-start cycle for the NFIP,” said Grande. “When the program is allowed to lapse, it causes needless delays for developers, lenders and ordinary Americans trying to buy or sell a home.”

As the House completes its work on flood insurance reform, the Senate has yet to take up the issue. The Senate Banking committee has held two hearings on the NFIP this year, but at this time no legislation has been introduced to fix or extend the program.

“September 30 is fast approaching and there’s no time to lose,” said Grande. “The House has done its part to address this issue. The ball is now in the Senate’s court and the clock is ticking.”

For further information, contact
Matt Brady
Director of Media Relations
(202) 580-6742 Tel
mbrady@namic.org

Posted: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 6:54:15 PM. Modified: Tuesday, July 12, 2011 7:33:12 PM.

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