WASHINGTON, D.C., July 12, 2011 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today praised the U.S. House of Representatives for passing H.R. 1309, the “Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011.” The legislation would extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years and make needed reforms to the program. The bill now goes to the Senate.
“The Big ‘I’ commends the House for today’s passage of H.R. 1309,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “A five year extension is of the utmost importance, as are reforms to put the program on sound financial footing. The Big ‘I’ strongly supports efforts to extend and improve the NFIP and we urge the Senate to take up extension legislation as soon as possible to avoid the program’s looming expiration at the end of September.”
H.R. 1309 was introduced by House Financial Services Subcommittee Chairman Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and cosponsored by Ranking Member Maxine Waters (D-Calif.). In addition to passage of H.R. 1309, the House also today overwhelmingly rejected an amendment offered by Rep. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) that would have stripped the provisions allowing FEMA to offer optional and actuarially priced business interruption and additional living expenses coverages. The underlying provision would only allow the offering of these coverages if stringent conditions were met, and the CBO recently scored the coverages as having no effect on federal revenue. The Flake amendment was rejected by a vote of 118-305.
“The Big ‘I’ especially thanks the House for overwhelmingly rejecting the Flake amendment to strip the optional business interruption and additional living expenses coverages,” said Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs. “These coverages are critically important to consumers and small businesses and the Big “I” strongly supports their inclusion in the Flood Insurance Reform Act.”
In addition to a five year extension and the business interruption and additional living expenses coverages, the legislation would make important reforms to modernize the NFIP. These include phasing out subsidies for many properties, raising the cap on annual premium increases from 10% to 20%, helping to transition properties newly mapped into flood zones, and indexing maximum coverage limits to inflation.
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.