The National Flood Insurance Program seems to have avoided expiration again, as federal legislators passed a new short-term funding bill that would keep the program afloat until December 16 of this year. The program has been burdened by crippling debt since 2005’s Hurricane Katrina. The majority of people in the U.S. have flood insurance provided by the program, which has put pressure on lawmakers to fix the program before these people lose their insurance coverage. Fixing the program, however, seems to be easier said than done.
NFIP was scheduled to expire on November 18, but emergency legislation from the Senate pushed that date back by roughly a month. Now legislators must determine how to fix the programs massive debt. The U.S. insurance industry is pushing for lawmakers to adopt several reforms to the program that would help generate revenue by changing rates and regulations. The plan proposed by insurers would also extend the life of the program another five years.
The American Insurance Association has expressed relief that the program won extension from the Senate, but was dissatisfied that no fixes accompanied the extension. If the program is allowed to lapse, millions of citizens will be without insurance coverage, which could put unprecedented strain on the insurance industry as the nation may still be facing several winter storms that could cause mass flooding in several states throughout the country.