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Senate approves extension of national flood insurance


WASHINGTON (Reuters)—The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved an extension of the government flood insurance program through next May.

The National Flood Insurance Program has survived for years on a series of extensions, the most recent of which was due to expire Dec. 16.

It is virtually the only source of residential coverage for flooding and is running a large deficit. Congress has struggled to reform its finances.

The program has 5.57 million policies in force nationwide, insuring $1.25 trillion in property, and could not write new policies unless extended.

Insurers are currently processing thousands of claims from Hurricane Irene, which triggered flooding along riverside communities in New York and New England.

The Senate extension was proposed by David Vitter. The House still must act to ensure a program extension.