(WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 27, 2008) — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) today commended Congress for passing a temporary extension, until March 6, 2009, of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
The NFIP was set to expire in just four days on September 30th. Had the program been allowed to expire, it would have resulted in no more new or renewed flood insurance policies and millions of consumers would have been left without flood insurance coverage.
“While this extension is just a temporary fix, its passage is a significant and welcome development for insurance consumers. If the NFIP were allowed to expire, millions of consumers and small businesses would be left unprotected from the damage of flooding just as we are entering the middle of the hurricane season,” said Robert Rusbuldt, president and CEO of the Big “I”.
The House of Representatives passed the extension earlier this week and the Senate followed suit today. The temporary extension should allow Congress to continue negotiating differences between the House and Senate versions of the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization (FIRM) Act of 2007. Both versions of the legislation would extend the program for 5 years and make significant and needed reforms to help put the program on sound financial footing. The Big “I” strongly supports a long term reauthorization that contains these reforms, especially the increase in maximum coverage limits and the addition of optional business interruption insurance.
“The destruction left behind by recent hurricanes and floods demonstrates that homeowners and businesses need both higher coverage limits and business interruption insurance in order to properly insure their homes and businesses,” says Charles E. Symington Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs. “We hope that, as Congress considers a long term reauthorization next year, they will include these reforms in legislation.
Founded in 1896, the Big “I” 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, health, employee benefit plans and retirement products. Web address: www.independentagent.com.