WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 4, 2013 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) praised Congress for acting to increase the borrowing authority of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by $9.7 billion to ensure that the current funds are not exhausted next week. The increase in borrowing authority is needed by the NFIP in order to pay the enormous number of flood claims expected from Superstorm Sandy.
Earlier today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted in favor of the effort through a process called “suspension of the rules” which requires two-thirds approval of the House. The Senate voted by “unanimous consent” on the same measure. Both chambers passed the measure and President Barack Obama is expected to sign it shortly.
“The Big ‘I’ commends Congress for today’s action on flood insurance which ensures that flood insurance claims are paid promptly, so homeowners and small businesses can begin recovering from the horrible damage inflicted by Sandy,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “Both the House and Senate should be commended for today’s action that will protect homeowners and small businesses.”
After a multi-year lobbying effort by the Big “I” and others, the “Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012,” was signed into law late last year. The new law extended the NFIP for five years and made needed reforms to the program. The association continues to be on the forefront of this issue and was a strong advocate for provisions in the bill that put the program on more solid financial footing.
“Some experts estimate that damage from Sandy could generate as many as 139,000 claims, but without an increase in the borrowing authority only about 12,000 of these can be covered from existing funds,” said Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs. “In fact, FEMA itself recently acknowledged it could run out of money as early as next week. The Big ‘I’ strongly supports raising the NFIP borrowing authority in order to ensure that NFIP policyholders who had the prudence to purchase protection and have been paying their premiums receive the claims payment they are due.”
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 approximately a quarter of a million 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.