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PIA National Applauds the Passage of Bipartisan Flood Reauthorization in House Committee

Bipartisan bill would reform and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years.
June 12, 2019

WASHINGTON The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA National) applauds the passage in the House Financial Services Committee of bipartisan legislation to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and reauthorize it for five years. The compromise bill was released June 6 by House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) and Ranking Member Patrick McHenry (R-NC). The NFIP is currently slated to expire September 30, 2019 and is on its 12th short term extension since 2017.

“After nearly two years of seemingly never-ending short-term extensions, PIA National thanks Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry for working together in a bipartisan way to pass this common-sense legislation out of the Financial Services Committee,” said PIA National vice president of government relations Jon Gentile. “Their leadership has ended the treatment of the NFIP as a political hot potato, which has been unfair and even dangerous for the  millions of NFIP policyholders, as well as those who have been impacted by flooding events.”

The legislation recognizes and preserves the critical role of the independent agent, provides continuous coverage protections to policyholders who leave the NFIP to purchase a private flood policy and return to the program, makes important investments in mitigation, and increases funds for mapping. In addition, the bill maintains grandfathering and the gradual implementation of actuarially sound rates.

Notable for PIA members is the absence of any provision that would impede the ability of independent agents to be fairly compensated for their work on the notoriously complicated flood program. Such a provision was included in legislation that passed the House last Congress. PIA National led the effort to encourage members to leave out such a provision in the NFIP legislation passed by the committee today.

Another bill to reform the NFIP, the National Flood Insurance Program Administrative Reform Act, sponsored by Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY), was also considered and passed by the committee. PIA supports this legislation, as it includes many of the priorities PIA National has been advocating for, like making common-sense reforms to the policyholder appeals procedure, improving aspects of the claims process, and creating a Federal Flood Insurance Advisory Committee with insurance agent representation. Perhaps most notable for PIA members is the section strengthening disclosure requirements included in standard flood insurance policies.

“The disclosure provision will make the options for and limitations of a standard flood insurance policy clearer to policyholders and include a disclosure acknowledgment sheet that will protect independent agents selling NFIP policies,” Gentile added.

PIA National calls on the full House to swiftly pass both bills, which may be merged into one NFIP reauthorization package. The Senate should also pass this bipartisan agreement.

“Thanks to the leadership of Chairwoman Waters and Ranking Member McHenry, we now have a bipartisan way forward to reauthorize the NFIP,” said Gentile. “The Senate should not let the perfect get in the way of the possible. Once the legislation passes the House, PIA National calls on the Senate to take up the House NFIP bill and pass it without delay. The time for partisan squabbling is over. It’s time to act.”

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. PIA members are Local Agents Serving Main Street America SM.PIA’s web address iswww.pianet.com.

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