Senate holds up added flood insurance funding

The United States Senate’s decision to postpone approval of an additional $29 billion in credit extensions to cover losses caused by recent hurricanes and flooding has sparked a grassroots movement led by the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents.

PIA officials are calling for members to urge Congress to extend the borrowing authority for the National Flood Insurance Program.

Senate leaders have postponed approval of a $5 billion line of credit to cover losses already incurred and $24 billion more for further anticipated costs in the National Flood Insurance Program administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

“The funding request is getting tied up with subsequent proposals,” said PIA spokesman Ted Besesparis. “They’re hoping to deal with more than one issue at a time. The problem is — at least with the $5 billion — this money is necessary to cover claims that are already in the pipeline.”

According to David Maurstad, director of the National Flood Insurance Program, the $5 billion will only cover claims through Thanksgiving.

“Because of these events, FEMA and NFIP were required on Nov. 11 to advise that they have no further authority on their line of credit,” PIA National Senior Vice President, Patricia A. Borowski said. “This creates a situation of having to pay past claims out of current premiums.”

While the House Financial Services Committee has approved the request, the lack of Senate action ties the hands of the NFIP in its ability to act according to Borowski.

“This delay in the Senate effectively places a hold on it (the request) and the full House still needs to act, meaning the National Flood Insurance Program cannot further extend their payouts.”

PIA officials are saying that they look forward to working with Congress to make needed changes in the Flood Insurance Program but want to get the needed funding approved first. – TRACIE STONE

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