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State insurance commissioners back NFIP reauthorization

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The National Association of Insurance Commissioners is urging Congress to immediately reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program prior to its scheduled expiration on Sept. 30.

Reauthorization would help avoid short-term extensions and program lapses that create uncertainty in the insurance, housing and lending markets, the Kansas City, Missouri-based organization said in a statement on Tuesday.

“The NFIP plays a critical role in providing coverage, and any delay or lapse in the program will hurt consumers,” NAIC CEO Mike Consedine said in the statement. “The NAIC stands ready to work with Congress to support a long-term reauthorization.”

The NAIC expressed its specific support for the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, a bipartisan bill introduced in March in the U.S. House of Representatives that clarifies that people who buy private flood insurance should receive the same treatment as those who purchase it through the NFIP if they're trying to obtain federally backed mortgages that require flood insurance. It is part of the effort to spur more private insurance participation in covering flood risks.

“It is important to maintain a stable program to provide certainty for policyholders while also encouraging greater growth in the private flood insurance market as a complement to the NFIP,” Ted Nickel, NAIC president and Wisconsin insurance commissioner, said in the statement. “State insurance regulators support this legislation because it provides consumers with more options for coverage which could lead to more affordable prices.”

In recognition of the growing private flood market, the NAIC said it has developed a requirement for insurers to include a line item in their annual financial statements highlighting their private flood insurance activity. This data will provide state regulators with an overview of the size of the private flood insurance market and insights into the market as it grows.