Flood Insurance Program to Expire Unless Congress Acts Quickly
CUNA calls for resolution citing concerns over impact to housing market.
If it’s September, the football season has begun.
Kids are back in school.
And the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is weeks away from expiring. Again.
On Sept. 30—the end of the fiscal year—the authorization for the NFIP to write new policies expires, which could cause the postponement of thousands of home purchases.
So far, Congress seems unable to pass any FY24 appropriations measures, the bills that usually serve as the vehicle for a short-term NFIP extension.
Congress has been unable to pass multi-year legislation to reauthorize the NFIP and, since 2017, has instead enacted 25 short-term extensions, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) said, in a report updated last week.
While the authority to provide new flood insurance contracts will expire on Sept. 30, contracts that were entered into before then would continue until the end of their policy term of one year, the CRS noted.
However, the authority for the NFIP to borrow funds from the Treasury will be reduced from $30.425 billion to just $1 billion, the research service said.
As of Aug. 16, there was $994 million in the flood insurance fund and $2.7 billion in a reserve fund.
“If the funds available to pay claims were to be depleted, claims would have to wait until sufficient premiums were received to pay them unless Congress were to appropriate supplemental funds to the NFIP to pay claims or increase the borrowing limit,” the report reads.
The CRS said further that during a lapse in June 2010, estimates suggest that more than 1,400 home sale closings were canceled or delayed each day—amounting to more than 40,000 sales each month. And those estimates only include residential properties; commercial real estate sales also were affected.
During the past several years, Congress has attempted to enact a long-term NFIP reauthorization bill. In most of those cases, the legislation also would have made changes to the program.
Much of the impetus for a longer-term bill has come from lawmakers representing states that are the most likely to be affected by hurricanes that result in flooding. But even among those legislators, ideological and regional differences, as well as debates over how to keep premium rates affordable have hampered any such efforts.
Letter From Credit Union Group
This week, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle sent congressional leaders a letter urging them not to allow the NFIP to lapse.
“A strong, sustainable, and affordable NFIP will serve the best interests of our nation’s housing market for years to come, and we strongly urge you to ensure that the NFIP’s authority to insure properties in NFIP communities does not lapse at the end of this month,” he wrote.