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FEMA Flip-Flops on Flood Policies

FEMA

By Vince Conti

WASHINGTON – On Dec. 21, hours before it was scheduled to expire, Congress extended the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until May 31, 2019. President Donald Trump signed the bill later that day.
Congressional action on the NFIP was lost in the tumult that surrounded the partial shutdown of the federal government.
The extension was intended to avoid the disruption of real estate markets with home sales pending that required flood insurance.  The program insures about 5 million homes and business across the country.
One estimate is that any lapse in issuing new policies could disrupt 40,000 home closings a month.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) managed to muddy the waters despite the congressional action when the agency announced Dec. 26 that it would suspend issuing new policies or renewing existing policies until the shutdown ends.
A coalition of insurers and real estate agents gained bipartisan support to pressure FEMA to reverse that decision. Politicians representing very different points on the political spectrum including Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FLA) and U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CALIF)  coalesced to chide the agency for misinterpreting the intent of Congress.
By Dec. 28, FEMA reversed course, instructing flood insurance plan insurers to immediately resume operations.
According to a FEMA statement, “The program will be considered operational since Dec. 21, 2018 without interruption.”

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