The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is currently scheduled to expire on Sept. 30.
This week, the Big “I" joined others in the insurance industry and a number of other interested stakeholders in sending a letter to congressional leadership urging them to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Big “I" was the only Main Street agent group to sign the letter.
The NFIP is currently scheduled to expire on Sept. 30, the same date that government funding runs out. Although there is widespread agreement that a long-term reauthorization of a reformed NFIP is needed, allowing the program to lapse would be devastating to the policyholders across the nation, many of whom are still being impacted by COVID-19 and are facing an increasing number of severe flooding events.
If the NFIP lapses, policyholders would not be able to obtain coverage or buy or sell properties of all kinds. In the absence of any agreement to reform the program, the letter makes clear that Congress must extend the program before Sept. 30 to provide continuity and certainty to the millions of policyholders who rely on a functioning NFIP. This would also give Congress time to build consensus around substantive NFIP reform.
Extending the NFIP is currently complicated by the fact that Congress must also fund the government and act to raise the debt ceiling. Republicans and Democrats are currently locked in a showdown over whether a debt limit increase should be included in government funding legislation or the reconciliation package. Importantly for insurance agents, disagreement between the two parties could lead to a government shutdown, which, in turn, could lead to a lapse in the NFIP.
Earlier this week, with the concerns of a potential government shutdown growing, Sens. Bill Cassidy (R-Louisiana), John Kennedy (R-Louisiana), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Mississippi), and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) introduced a standalone extension of the NFIP. The “NFIP Extension Act of 2021" would extend the NFIP for one year through Sept. 30, 2022.
As these issues come to a head at the end of September, the Big “I" will continue to advocate for Congress to extend the NFIP and will provide regular updates in the coming weeks.
Wyatt Stewart is Big “I" assistant vice president of federal government affairs.