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PIA Applauds Senate Vote to Renew National Flood Insurance Program

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2004 - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) today applauded the passage by the U.S. Senate of legislation that reauthorizes...
June 16, 2004

Five Year Authorization Will Provide Certainty for Consumers

WASHINGTON, June 16, 2004 - The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) today applauded the passage by the U.S. Senate of legislation that reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years. The Senate approved the legislation by unanimous consent on June 15.

The reauthorization was part of S. 2238, which reforms the program. The measure now goes to the House, where a vote is expected next week. The House had previously passed H.R. 253, which reforms and reauthorizes the NFIP.

"PIA applauds the Senate for taking action prior to the June 30 deadline to reauthorize the flood insurance program," said PIA National Assistant Vice President of Federal Affairs Peter Bizzozero. "Senators have recognized the need for certainty in the availability of flood insurance coverage for homes and businesses by passing the five year reauthorization."

Two weeks ago, PIA initiated a nationwide grassroots action campaign, asking its members to contact their Members of Congress and to urge them to pass flood insurance legislation before authorization for the NFIP expired. Congress had passed two temporary authorizations for the program this year, to give the Senate time to address proposed reforms.  In addition, PIA participated with a coalition seeking prompt NFIP renewal that included the American Insurance Association (AIA), the Financial Services Roundtable, National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies, the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) and the Flood Insurance Servicing Companies Association of America.

Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Kentucky), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Economic Policy of the Senate Banking Committee, who sponsored S. 2238, told PIA members during their Federal Legislative Summit on March 25, "When we reauthorize this bill it will be for five years. We won't have to worry about the program expiring as you have for the last three years. Hopefully that will bring continuity and stability."

Final Senate passage was assured when changes suggested by Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) were included that addressed some of the concerns she raised. These focused on provisions in S. 2238 relating to a repetitive loss properties mitigation pilot program. Landrieu succeeded in adding language requiring FEMA to give greater deference to mitigation decisions made at the local level; clarifying that the pilot program is optional for local communities; and instituting a funding formula based on the percentage of the total number of repetitive loss properties in a state. The compromise addressing Landrieu's concerns was worked out in the Senate Banking Committee.

Approximately 95 percent of the flood insurance sold in the United States is backed by the National Flood Insurance Program.

Founded in 1931, PIA is a national trade association that represents member insurance agents and their employees who sell and service all kinds of insurance, but specialize in coverage of automobiles, homes and businesses.