WASHINGTON, D.C., June 29, 2012 — The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA or the Big “I”) today praised Congress for passing the “Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012.” The legislation would extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years and make needed reforms to the program. The bill was passed as part of a Conference Report package along with the Surface Transportation Act of 2012 and an extension of the Federal Direct Stafford Student Loan program.
“The Big ‘I’ commends the House and Senate for today’s action on flood insurance,” says Robert Rusbuldt, Big “I” president & CEO. “A five year extension is of the utmost importance, as are the needed reforms to the program. The Big ‘I’ strongly supports the legislation passed today and looks forward to the implementation of the many provisions that will help put the program on more solid financial footing.”
The legislation passed today would extend the NFIP for five years, until Sept. 30, 2017, and 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%, allowing multifamily properties to purchase NFIP policies, imposing minimum deductibles for flood claims, requiring the NFIP administrator to develop a plan for repaying the debt incurred from Hurricane Katrina, and establishing a technical mapping advisory council to deal with map modernization issues. The legislation would also require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to conduct a study on the prospect of adding business interruption and additional living expenses coverages to the NFIP and would require the Federal Insurance Office (FIO) to study and submit a report to Congress on natural disaster insurance issues and possible legislative solutions.
“Both the House and Senate should be commended,” said Charles Symington, Big “I” senior vice president of government affairs. “This legislation has been a top priority of the Big ‘I’ for almost seven years, and we are very proud today that Congress has finally passed this balanced, bipartisan bill that will provide long-term protection for both consumers and taxpayers. In particular, the Big ‘I’ would like to thank Chairmen Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) and Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Ranking Members Barney Frank (D-Mass.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Reps. Judy Biggert (R-Ill.) and Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) for their leadership and hard work in this endeavor.” 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.