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Posted on: May 25, 2018

US Senate Stalls on NFIP Reauthorization

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is set to expire July 31. Unless Congress renews NFIP by then, FEMA would stop selling and renewing flood insurance policies. The Senate has been slow to consider long-term reauthorization.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides flood coverage for more than 22,000 American communities, was originally set to expire last fall. Although the House of Representatives passed legislation, entitled the 21st Century Flood Reform Act, reform for the program then stalled in the Senate. Since then, the Senate has enacted a series of NFIP extensions. The most recent extension, on March 23, came as a part of the $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill signed by President Trump. That reauthorized the program through July 31, 2018.

With Hurricane Season just weeks away, unless Congress renews the statutory authority of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to operate by July 31, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) would stop selling and renewing flood insurance policies for millions of properties in communities across the nation.

Despite the strong advocacy of Senators Menendez and Booker, the Senate has been slow to consider legislation that would provide long-term reauthorization of the NFIP. The National League of Cities (NLC) is urging the Senate to quickly pass the legislation to provide long-term reauthorization of the NFIP, while making essential reforms to reduce the program’s complexity.

Specifically, NLC is urging the Senate to require FEMA to work with state and local governments, the insurance industry, and other stakeholders to develop an incentive-based disaster insurance and mitigation system that would encourage property owners to retrofit existing structures to reduce future losses from natural disasters. They are also asking that the legislation should encourage lending institutions to incorporate mitigation provisions as conditions for loans. Finally, Congress should provide additional resources to FEMA to utilize the best technology and methods available to improve the mapping process, including seeking the input from local government officials prior to approving any flood map that could impact local zoning rules.

Contact: Jon Moran, Senior Legislative Analyst, jmoran@njslom.org, 609-695-3481, Ext. 121.

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