U.S. Senators Roger Wicker and Cindy Hyde-Smith voted to extend the National Flood Insurance Program Tuesday.
The program was set to expire at midnight. The four-month extension does not include reforms, something Senator Wicker called for his colleagues to consider in order the keep the program financially sustainable.
“Passing this reauthorization right before the deadline does not entitle us to pat ourselves on the back. Instead, it should motivate members to work across the aisle to provide meaningful reforms,” Wicker said during his speech. “We need to make this program financially sustainable for the long-term. But we also need to assure property owners they are not going to be hit with a huge insurance bill that they cannot afford.”
Both senators say they support competition from the private sector to bring high flood insurance rates down.
“Many Mississippians rely on the National Flood Insurance Program. It won’t lapse for now, but Congress needs to act on long-term reauthorization legislation with commonsense reforms that will, among other things, improve flood insurance and address the waste, abuse and mismanagement plaguing the system,” Hyde-Smith said.
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney responded to the news in a statement:
Mississippi Insurance Commissioner Mike Chaney said, “The renewal is good news and comes as a relief to thousands of Mississippians who would have been at risk of losing their flood insurance coverage. However, this extension is only a stop-gap measure.”
Chaney believes there should be long-term reform of the NFIP and more competition is needed.
Commissioner Chaney said, “It’s a situation where the government needs to stepout of the way and let free enterprise solve the flood problem, with Federal backup. Certainly, there could be areas where people would cherry-pick and private flood insurance may not cover someone that’s in a real vulnerable area. That’s why the NFIP existed in the first place, to cover those clearly in harm’s way.”
The National Flood Insurance Program has been in existence since 1968.