(WASHINGTON, D.C., March 11, 2009) — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (the Big “I”) today commended President Barack Obama for signing a temporary extension, until Sept. 30, 2009, of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) into law.
The NFIP was set to expire at midnight today. 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, it is a significant and welcome development for insurance consumers,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president and CEO. “If the NFIP had been allowed to expire, millions of homeowners and small businesses would have been left unprotected from the damage of flooding. The Big ‘I’ commends President Obama for making the NFIP a priority and looks forward to working with his administration and Congress for a more permanent solution.”
The House of Representatives passed the extension last week by including it in an omnibus spending bill and the Senate followed suit yesterday. The temporary extension should allow Congress to continue negotiating long-term updates to the much-needed program. In the 110th Congress, the Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization (FIRM) Act of 2007 made progress in the House and Senate. Both versions of the legislation would have extended the program for 5 years and made significant and needed reforms to help put the program on sound financial footing. The effort is expected to move forward in the next few months. The Big “I” strongly supports a long term reauthorization that contains significant reforms, especially the increase in maximum coverage limits and the addition of optional business interruption insurance.
“The destruction left behind by floods in recent years highlights the urgency and importance of updating the NFIP,” says Charles E. Symington Jr., Big “I” senior vice president for government affairs. “Homeowners and businesses need both higher coverage limits and business interruption insurance in order to properly insure their homes and businesses. We hope that as Congress considers a long term reauthorization later this 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.