WASHINGTON, D.C., Dec. 12 - A decision by two key congressional leaders to offer legislation next year reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) means the issue will be accorded the highest priority when the new Congress convenes, says the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA).
House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) and Ranking Member Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced today that they jointly will offer legislation the first day of the new Congress that convenes Jan. 7 and make reinstatement one of the first issues addressed by lawmakers.
Oxley, Frank and Capital Markets, Insurance and Government Sponsored Enterprises Subcommittee Chairman Richard Baker (R-La.) will be aggressively advocating the reauthorization proposal with their House and Senate colleagues to ensure quick approval by both chambers.
“This is a significant development in the effort to have the next Congress quickly reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program,” says IIABA Senior Vice President of Federal Government Affairs Maria L. Berthoud. “Chairman Oxley, Ranking Member Frank and Chairman Baker’s support for reinstating the flood program will ensure expedited consideration and adoption in the Financial Services Committee.
“Reinstating the NFIP is the immediate and top legislative priority for IIABA as well and we will continue working with these leaders and other interested parties on Capitol Hill and in the private sector to ensure quick action so we can avert any long-term disruptions to policyholders, homeowners, independent agents and the real estate marketplace,” says Berthoud.
The NFIP will lapse Dec. 31 because of procedural oversights by government officials. As a result, existing coverage for millions of policyholders was left in limbo and a higher likelihood for serious problems for the real estate market and homeowners and independent agents was created.
The draft legislation, to be called the National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization Act, will reinstate the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) authority to offer the NFIP and would extend the program’s authority retroactively to Dec. 31 to cover any breaks in coverage that result from the program’s temporary lapse.
Founded in 1896, IIABA is the nation’s oldest and largest national association of independent insurance agents and brokers, representing a network of more than 300,000 agents, brokers and their employees nationally. Its members are businesses that offer customers a choice of policies from a variety of insurance companies. Independent agents and brokers offer all lines of insurance—property, casualty, life and health—as well as employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.