PIA Urges Congress to Renew NFIP

June 9, 2004

The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents joined other associations in calling for the National Flood Insurance Program to be renewed before it expires at the end of the month. The PIA has initiated a nationwide grassroots action campaign, asking its members to contact their Members of Congress and to urge them to pass flood insurance legislation.

“Our message is clear: time is running out,” stated Peter Bizzozero, PIA National assistant VP for federal affairs. “It is imperative that the NFIP not be allowed to expire, as happened at the end of 2002. At that time, the flood insurance program lapsed because Congress had adjourned without passing a reauthorization. It was eventually reauthorized in January of 2003, but the PIA noted that the “interruption caused widespread concern and threatened to disrupt real estate markets.”

While there have been two temporary extensions, granted to allow Congress to make necessary reforms in the program, no permanent legislation reauthorizing the NFIP has yet been enacted.

The PIA noted that is participating with a coalition seeking prompt NFIP renewal that includes the American Insurance Association, the Financial Services Roundtable, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the Flood Insurance Servicing Companies Association of America.

“There are currently two bills pending in Congress (S. 2238 and H. R. 253) that call for a five-year extension of the NFIP,” said the bulletin. “The House has passed H.R. 253 that reforms and reauthorizes the NFIP. But in the Senate, Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) has placed a hold on the flood insurance legislation while she attempts to address various concerns she has with the bill.”
“We are asking all PIA members to contact their Members of Congress with one simple message: renew the flood insurance program before it expires on June 30,” Bizzozero stressed. “While we are continuing to work with lawmakers on reform proposals, reauthorization needs to be the top priority.

“We’ve been down this road before,” he continued. “We don’t need to go there again. Any time gap created by a delay in the reauthorization would cause significant administrative problems and disruption for policyholders. In addition, such an interruption would not be prudent, particularly during the hurricane season.”

The need for action appears critical, as the PIA noted, “approximately 95 percent of the flood insurance sold in the United States is backed by the National Flood Insurance Program.”

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