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Trade Groups Praise for House Flood Insurance Vote

Phil Hall
Apr 29, 2016
Two leading housing industry trade groups came to Capitol Hill yesterday with warning that extreme rate hikes on flood insurance could create havoc among homeowners

Yesterday’s rare display of unanimous bipartisan support by the House of Representatives for HR 2901, the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, by a 419-0 vote, received praise from trade associations representing the real estate, banking and insurance industries.

The bill seeks to update rules that enable homeowners to move between the federal National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and private flood insurance coverage without risking arbitrary rate increases.

Tom Salomone, president of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), commended HR 2901 as being beneficial to homowners’ financial needs.

“For many, the NFIP offers the only source of coverage that meets federally-related mortgage requirements and protects properties in the 100 year floodplain,” Salomone said. “At the same time, consumers who wish to purchase insurance in the private market should have the freedom to do so. This legislation will help foster a vibrant private flood insurance market while giving consumers the flexibility to return to the NFIP at a reasonable cost if they choose to.”

The National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA) also commended the House on its vote.

"This legislation seeks to encourage the development of a private flood insurance market, with strong consumer protections being overseen by state insurance regulators," said PIA National Vice President of Government Relations Jon Gentile. "We thank the bill's sponsors Reps. Dennis Ross (R-FL) and Patrick Murphy (D-FL) for their leadership on this important issue. We are pleased Congress heard the voices of their constituents."

The American Bankers Association (ABA) joined in the praise as well.

“Having such alternatives will increase competition and help drive down flood insurance costs, enhancing consumer protection against flood damages in mortgage markets and ensuring that more borrowers can be covered by flood insurance,” said the trade group on its Web site. “It is also expected to help return the taxpayer-funded NFIP to more robust financial condition.”

And Tom Santos, vice president for federal affairs for the American Insurance Association (AIA), noted that the enthusiastic House response to the bill should the other half of Capitol Hill to act accordingly.

“The overwhelming bipartisan vote by the House creates additional momentum as the bill moves to the Senate. Senators Dean Heller (R-NV) and Jon Tester (D-MT) have introduced the Senate companion, S.1679,” he said. “AIA looks forward to working with members in both the House and Senate on a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP that includes the necessary reforms of ending subsidized rates and actuarial sound rates that reflect risk.”

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