In our third post comparing the 21st Century Flood Reform Act and the SAFE-NFIP Act, we look at the features in the 21st Century Flood Reform Act that weaken the integrity of the Program.

FIRM thanks the Monroe County Federal legislative team for their detailed analysis of the bills and for sharing that analysis with FIRM so that we can better explain the differences to our members.

  • 21st Century Flood Reform Act may undermine the stability of the NFIP.  While positive changes have been made to the bill to address some original concerns, the following remain:  after one year, the bill would remove the mandatory purchase requirement for commercial properties, thereby reducing by nearly 10 percent the number of participants in the NFIP. Meanwhile, efforts are made via the bill to open up the private flood insurance market to vendors who may not have the financial capability to pay claims when disaster hits.  And finally, this legislation does nothing to address the NFIP’s debt, the annual interest payments on the debt which hamstring the NFIP, and does not do enough to address the need for investing in mitigation and resiliency.
  • The SAFE-NFIP Act and current law does not loosen mandatory purchase requirements and provides for funding for mitigation and resiliency.

Takeaway:  Private flood insurance is already allowed by current law, has begun to flourish in places like Florida, and does not need encouragement or lax regulation to continue to grow.  In a previous post, Lisa Tennyson, Monroe County Director of Legislative Affairs and FIRM Board member stated, “Critics of NFIP repeatedly remind us of the program’s debt, casting flood insurance affordability as an undeserved and/or irresponsible subsidy that is the cause of the insolvency, and arguing that the only solution for saving the program is to eliminate its affordability (the illogical “we-have-to-kill-the-program-to-save-the-program” approach).”

The 21st Century Flood Reform Act passed the US House of Representatives in mid-November and is now in the Senate Committee on Banking Housing and Urban Affairs.  FIRM Supports the SAFE-NFIP Act of which the House version is co-sponsored by Congressman Curbelo, and the Senate version is co-sponsored by Senators Nelson and Rubio.  The NFIP reauthorization has been extended to December 8, but will most likely be granted another extension which means we can still urge our Senators to push for the more favorable aspects as presented in the SAFE-NFIP Act.

Please contact Senator Nelson and Senator Rubio and let them know that you do not support the 21st Century Flood Reform Act.  Thank them for being co-sponsors of the SAFE-NFIP Act, and urge them to continue to support an NFIP reform bill that addresses affordability, mitigation and integrity of the program.  If your primary residence is in a state other than Florida, research where your members of Congress stand on NFIP reauthorization, and urge them to support the SAFE-NFIP Act as well.  Flooding is no longer just an issue for coastal communities, and we all need a National Flood Insurance Program that works!

Read more to compare how the two bills will affect premium increases.

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