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Congress Reauthorizes Flood Insurance Program

Congress has voted to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), retroactive to January 1, 2003. The action brings to a close a short period...
January 1, 2003

PIA Successfully Lobbies for Action After Program Lapsed

Congress has voted to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), retroactive to January 1, 2003. The action brings to a close a short period of uncertainty during which authority for the flood insurance program to issue new policies had lapsed.

The action by Congress means the flood insurance program has continued without any interruption in coverage.

On January 8, 2003, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 11, a bill introduced by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Mike Oxley (R-Ohio) and the committee's Ranking Member Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts). The next day, the U.S. Senate passed a companion bill. President Bush signed the bill on January 13, 2003.

"PIA appreciates the recognition by House Financial Services Committee Chairman Oxley and ranking member Barney Frank that renewal of the federal flood insurance program needed to be at the top of the congressional agenda in January," said PIA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Patricia A. Borowski.

Borowski also thanked Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration head Anthony S. Lowe and Deputy Administrator Howard Leikin for making specific changes in response to the concerns raised by PIA about the process and procedures used during the interim period between December 31, 2002 and the reauthorization.

Authority for the NFIP, the program that provides 90 percent of the flood insurance coverage in the United States, expired after December 31, 2002 because Congress had adjourned for the year without completing reauthorization. While the Senate had passed a bill to reauthorize the program, the House of Representatives had adjourned without taking action.

PIA National alerted members to the impending lapse in the program as soon as Congress adjourned in December and then worked independently and with a broad coalition of business interests to ensure that NFIP would be reauthorized as soon as lawmakers reconvened. At the same time, PIA worked with federal officials in charge of the program to assure as little disruption as possible during the hiatus period.

"PIA lobbied members of Congress over the holidays to drive home the point that reauthorization of the flood insurance program needed to be the first item of business when Congress returned," said PIA Director of Political Affairs Kellie Bray. "In all of our congressional visits, we found unanimous support. It is quite unusual and very heartening to go to Capitol Hill and encounter no opposition whatsoever to a position we are advocating. We should be so fortunate with all of our issues."

PIA worked with a coalition of lender, insurance, banking, housing and realtor interests to secure NFIP reauthorization. Coalition participants included the National Association of Realtors, the American Bankers Association, America's Community Bankers, the American Insurance Association, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the Mortgage Bankers Association of America, the National Association of Home Builders and the Financial Services Roundtable.

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 PIA Connection.

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