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Monday, 24 December 2018 21:19

Flood Insurance Program Expires: Floridians Wait Featured

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Congress must periodically renew the NFIP’s statutory authority to operate. On Dec 7, 2018, the President signed legislation passed by Congress that extends the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP’s) authorization to Dec. 21, 2018. Congress also postponed a vote on government funding until Dec. 21..... Well, Congress failed to pass a budget in time and now the government shutdown will continue until at least the Thursday after Christmas as of this writing.

NFIP reauthorization is an opportunity for Congress to take bold steps to reduce the complexity of the program and strengthen the NFIP’s financial framework so that the program can continue helping individuals and communities take the critical step of securing flood insurance. The level of damage from the 2017 hurricanes makes it clear that FEMA needs a holistic plan to ready the Nation for managing the cost of catastrophic flooding under the NFIP. If lawmakers are unable to find common ground on the higher-profile funding issue, it's unclear what might happen to NFIP.

Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, joined forces with John Kennedy (R-La.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in a bipartisan effort to get a10-month NFIP extension. They introduced a bill, S. 3703, to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for 10 months – through Sept. 30, 2019.

If Congress passes the bill after flood insurance expires on Dec. 21, the s. 3703 includes a provision that would make flood coverage retroactive in the event of a program lapse. However, it's not yet clear whether the bill will pass in favor of more shorter-term extensions.

"While I am frustrated with the continued need for extensions, it has become clear that we need additional time to come to a consensus on bipartisan and bicameral reforms to the NFIP," Rubio says. "Floridians who rely on this program cannot afford this uncertainty when we enter the 2019 hurricane season. I urge my colleagues to pass this important extension as soon as possible."

"More than five million Americans depend on the National Flood Insurance Program," Kennedy says. "For those of us who live along the Gulf Coast, the NFIP means we don't have to worry every time it rains."

"It's critical that we prevent a lapse that would disrupt the real estate market and leave thousands of families uninsured and vulnerable," adds Menendez. "This (10-month) extension will give Congress time to pass a long-term reauthorization with real, meaningful reforms in line with my SAFE NFIP Act, which is the most bipartisan flood insurance bill in the Senate."

Even if it is after the deadline , the program will probably be reauthorized. In the event a lapse does occur, insurance agents would not be able to issue new insurance policies or increase coverages.

Review some of the basics:

• New policies cannot be issued and coverage increases cannot be made to existing policies.

1. If a request and payment was received on or before 12/14/18, we can honor these dates and process as normal.
2. If the request and/or payment is received after 12/14/18, the insurance carrier is not authorized to issue new policies or coverage. Typically, the insurance carrier will hold the premium          until it is reauthorized/approved and then will process. The effective dates will be determined by the reauthorization law.

• Everyone that has coverage in force, still has coverage until their next renewal date.

1. If your insurance policy is set to renew on or around the date of reauthorization and you have received your renewal notice, the insurance carrier is authorized to issue your renewal as          long as payment is made before the end of the 30 day grace period.
2. Insurance carriers are not allowed to issue any further renewal notices after the date of the program lapse.

Watch for our future issues as we keep an eye on this very important issue for you.

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