On Wednesday, a subcommittee of the House of Representatives approved amendments that could help revitalize the stagnant National Flood Insurance Program. The program is currently in a state of bankruptcy, having been unable to procure any additional funding from the government. It will continue to operate until September 30, when funding will run out completely.
The legislation, which was passed by a voice vote, seeks to revamp the program to make it more financially sound and provide federal agencies such as FEMA more flexibility in their operations.
“In the near term, the revamp will reduce the burden on taxpayers and examine ways to increase market participation,” says Representative Judy Biggert of Illinois. The bill has garnered an array of support from both political parties. Its provisions have been designed to lower rates for policyholders with the long-term plan being to eventually dissipate taxpayer risk.
As one of the provisions of the bill, the Technical Mapping Advisory Council will be reinstituted after being shut down in 2000. The council will assist FEMA in mapping flood by assessing areas of particular risk. The legislation will also increase flood insurance premiums by as much as 20% and give FEMA authority to do away with discounted rates.
The fate of the bill is still uncertain, despite overwhelming support in the House. The legislation’s provisions could be enacted as soon as 2012, should it be made into law.