Congress Extends NFIP on Short-Term Basis

Earlier today, the U.S. Senate passed government funding legislation that includes an extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through Dec. 20. The program is currently scheduled to expire at midnight tonight. The same legislation previously passed the U.S. House of Representatives and will now head to the President’s desk where the White House has signaled that he will sign it into law to avoid a federal government shutdown.

Earlier this year, the House Financial Services Committee passed legislation to reauthorize the NFIP for five years by a unanimous vote of 59-0. The Big “I” supports and continues to advocate for the House to pass that legislation, which would make reforms that will increase overall take-up rates through the NFIP and the private market—including a “continuous coverage” fix.  Despite the overwhelming support in the committee, concerns raised by some coastal lawmakers over potential NFIP rate increases have slowed down House consideration.

Additionally, a group of senators led by Sen. Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey) introduced legislation that includes several controversial items that would damage the goal of increasing take-up rates in both the NFIP and the private market. Notably for Big “I” members, the legislation would cap Write Your Own (WYO) compensation at 22.46% of written premiums.

Currently, WYO insurance companies receive 30% of the written premium to administer the NFIP. WYOs pay insurance agents, vendors and state premium taxes, among other costs, from the allowance they receive. A reduction of this amount would undoubtedly lead to drastic agent commission cuts.

Wyatt Stewart is Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs.