Federal lawmakers expected to take action on flood insurance program this week

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Flood Insurance

Expiration date for the National Flood Insurance Program looms

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is roughly nine days away from expirations (May 31, 2012), and federal lawmakers have yet to take any definitive action on the beleaguered insurance program. Federal legislators have long relied on several short-term extensions for the program, many of which extended the life span of the program for three-to-six months. Though lawmakers have not acted, they are not lacking options concerning the insurance program. Last year, the federal House of Representatives approved a plan to guarantee the existence of NFIP for another 5 years.

Beleaguered flood insurance program continues to be a point of contention amongst lawmakers

NFIP has been a subject of controversy and rampant debate for some time. The program itself accounts for the majority of flood insurance policies in the U.S. and provides homeowners that are located in areas prone to floods access to affordable insurance coverage. Without the program, these homeowners may find it difficult to find insurance coverage, as many of the country’s private insurance companies have stopped writing policies for high risk properties.

Yet another short-term extension plan on the table

Last week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid petitioned his fellow lawmakers to approve a 30-day extension for the insurance program. Though legislators have shown favor for short-term extensions in the past, this particular extension plan was criticized. Those opposing yet another extension argue that the financial woes of NFIP are too numerous and problematic to continue being put off. Reforming the program is no small feat, however, especially during an election year and with much of the federal government’s resources focused on supporting health care reform.

Legislators faced with options concerning longevity of flood insurance program

There are currently three options facing the Senate regarding NFIP. The first is the 30-day extension that has been a popular option with legislators. The second in a seven month extension that has yet to gain a significant amount of support. The final option is the five year extension that has already been approved by the House. This option could give legislators enough time to fix the problems currently crippling the National Flood Insurance Program.

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