The NFIP is set to expire at midnight tomorrow, barring action by Congress. At press time, the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate are both expected to consider legislation to extend the program for one week, to align it with a Dec. 7 government funding deadline, before week’s end.
Since September 2017, the NFIP has seen seven stop-gap extensions and two brief lapses, so tying the program expiration to “must-pass” government funding legislation is not a guarantee that the program will avoid lapse in December. Congress is currently negotiating a government funding bill, but debate over border security and other issues creates potential for a federal government shutdown.
Should the program lapse, the Big “I” encourages agents and brokers to be in touch with any insurance companies they write NFIP policies with regarding company-specific procedures. Members may log in to view a one-page document that outlines resources available in the event of a lapse.
Legislation has also been introduced in the Senate that would extend the program for six months, though momentum has stalled due to debate over adding studies on potential program reforms to the bill.
Extending the program through Dec. 7 could again tie its expiration to government funding legislation. However, it is unclear whether the program will ultimately be extended to match future government funding deadlines in 2019 or to some other date. NFIP expiration was previously tied to government funding deadlines but was “de-coupled” during another extension debate earlier this year.
Meanwhile, the Big “I” will continue advocacy efforts to avoid a lapse in the program and garner necessary program reforms. Earlier this month, the Big “I” led a group of 26 organizations in sending a letter to congressional leadership urging immediate action to reauthorize the NFIP.
The Big “I” and others are advocating for Congress to extend the NFIP before the program expires, and to support a long-term reauthorization of a modernized program that would increase take-up rates for flood insurance both in the NFIP and in the private market.
The new Congress is expected to resume substantive discussions on reforming the program in the first part of 2019.
Jennifer Webb is Big “I” federal government affairs counsel.