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Conversation on National Flood Insurance Program Heats Up

The National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire in September 2017, and according to the National Association of Realtors®, the stakes are high for reauthorization.

The program lapsed twice between 2008 and 2012, and NAR estimates that as many as 40,000 home sales stalled every month as a result. Another lapse would represent a significant challenge to consumers and the housing market. Flood large

But supporters of the program have their sights on more than just reauthorizing the program. Improvements are needed to strengthen the NFIP and better serve homeowners in flood-prone areas.

As part of that effort, NAR joined the SmarterSafer Coalition last week to announce joint principles for reform of the NFIP.

In an op-ed with SmarterSafer, NAR President Tom Salomone offered a snapshop of those principles:

  • The NFIP is a critical part of the future landscape for homeowners and taxpayers alike so it must be reauthorized long term;
  • “The private sector needs to be encouraged to provide consumer choices in addition to the NFIP;
  • “The government needs to do more to encourage resiliency and provide incentives for policy holders to build higher or relocate to higher ground away from our coasts and waterways; and
  • “The NFIP must do a better job of mapping and estimating risk, and that rates should reflect that risk over time.
  • “The fact remains that while homeowners face one major flood event after another – including floods along the Mississippi River, Hurricane Sandy, and last year’s floods in South Carolina – demand on the already-strained system is not letting up.”

The writers acknowledged in the op-ed that NAR and the SmarterSafer Coalition haven’t always agreed on the issue of how to address the NFIP; however, they note that they’ve set aside past disagreements in the hopes of spurring legislative action on this critical program.

“The National Association of REALTORS® and the SmarterSafer coalition have at times disagreed in the past about how to address this issue,” they wrote. “However, the path forward has become so clear, and the stakes so high, that we are urging Congress to rescue the program with a series of common sense reforms before it’s too late.”

Politico reported earlier this year that leaders in Congress are taking notice of the September 2017 deadline.  Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer, Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Insurance, said he hopes to have draft language for a NFIP reauthorization bill by year’s end.