On July 15, 2010, a press release from the House of Representatives indicated that they had passed H.R. 5114, which makes key reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and reauthorizes the flood program for 5 years. Action is still required by the Senate before the reforms take effect.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) stated, “Reauthorizing and improving the flood insurance program helps homeowners, businesses and communities throughout the country…this legislation restores stability to NFIP which it lacked while subject to lapses and only temporary extensions. During lapses in the flood insurance program over the past year, FEMA was not able to write new policies, renew expiring ones or increase coverage limits.”
Improvement to the flood insurance program by phasing in actuarial rates for pre-FIRM properties (those built before the effective date of the first Flood Insurance Rate Map for a community), along with raising the maximum coverage limits, providing notice to renters about content insurance, and establishing a Flood Insurance Advocate (similar to the Taxpayer Advocate at the Internal Revenue Service) is what this new H.R. 5114 is all about.
While these will all be good changes, I think the one we are most excited about is the extension of the NFIP for 5 years. This will create a lot less headaches because you won’t have to be constantly checking if the program has expired.