U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) on Wednesday urged action on a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) at a Senate Banking subcommittee hearing. A current extension of the program is set to expire on May 31.
"NFIP is in dire need of reform and long-term reauthorization," said Wicker. "There is bipartisan support in the Senate to reauthorize NFIP, but the Majority Leader has refused to bring this bill to the floor. Short-term extensions lack the changes needed to make the program viable."
NFIP was last authorized in 2004. The program has been operating under a series of short-term extensions since 2008. This Congress, five-year reauthorizations have passed the full House and the Senate Banking Committee, but they have been stalled since committee passage last September. These bills include reforms designed to restore the program's solvency and protect taxpayers.
During Senate markup, an agreement was reached with the Banking Committee Chairman and Ranking Member to add an amendment Wicker authored, known as the COASTAL Amendment, when the bill is considered by the full Senate.
The COASTAL Amendment would use hurricane data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in conjunction with engineering formulas to be developed by FEMA to double check flood insurance claims for total-loss, "slab" properties.
Use of the COASTAL formula will help prevent the inappropriate shifting of wind claims to the flood program and will empower consumers by providing a better estimation of wind versus water losses.