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The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate have voted to extend the National Flood Insurance Program through Dec. 7.
The heavily indebted program was slated to expire Friday, but late votes in both chambers on Thursday gave it a temporary reprieve. The Senate also approved a measure that would extend the program for six months, but the House has yet to move on a longer-term extension.
The program has been allowed to lapse briefly in the past, only to be reauthorized retroactively.
The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America “is pleased that Congress averted a lapse and passed legislation to continue the National Flood Insurance Program,” said Nat Wienecke, PCI’s Washington-based senior vice president of federal government relations, in a statement. “However, this short duration is very concerning. “
“Consumers and businesses need a reliable program that provides long-term access to flood insurance,” he said. “Many Americans are in the process of rebuilding following the historic flooding brought on by the recent hurricanes. A long-term reauthorization will provide consumers with the certainty of knowing their claims will be processed promptly.
“We urge Congress to pass a long-term bill that will provide more consumer options and greater financial stability to the NFIP,” he said.
Divided government as a result of last week’s midterm elections will not necessarily be an obstacle to agreement on key issues on the property/casualty insurance industry’s legislative agenda.