Sens. Menendez, Cassidy seek flood insurance reforms

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A bipartisan group of legislators recently supported an effort favoring long-term, comprehensive reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

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Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) spearheaded correspondence to Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Ranking Member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) urging revisions. The letter was also signed by Sens. John Kennedy (R-LA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), and Shelly Moore Capito (R-WV).

The Senate recently passed a four-month extension of the NFIP, which was due to expire May 31, as part of a broader disaster supplemental bill.

“Within two years, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has been subjected to 10 short-term extensions,” the senators wrote. “This ridiculous process has created significant uncertainty and anxiety for homeowners, renters, and small business owners in our states. The NFIP is critical to our constituents, and there is a bipartisan path to expedite a long-term reauthorization with commonsense reforms that will enhance the affordability, efficiency, fairness, accountability, and sustainability of the program.”

The SAFE NFIP Act would extend the federal flood insurance program for six years while instituting a series of sweeping reforms, authorizing significant investment in mitigation and resiliency efforts to reduce flood risk while addressing critical problems following Superstorm Sandy and other disasters.

Unsustainability, low participation rates, inaccurate flood maps, an indifference to the benefits of flood control infrastructure, agency mismanagement, unsustainable debt service costs and contractor profiteering are among the problems the proposed reforms seek to address.

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