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NFIP reprieved, Florida's flood risk should be low in 2012

The U.S. Senate voted today to extend the National Flood Insurance Program for 60 days beyond its May 31 expiration date. The only movement toward a long-term renewal came on Wednesday, when Senate leadership and the author of an NFIP reform and long-term renewal bill agreed to "allow debate" about the measure this year. The news is likely both a relief and a major source of frustration for homeowners in Florida's Coastal Region.

The sponsor said in a statement that the agreement to debate a five-year renewal is a huge step in the right direction. He welcomed the opportunity for full debate on the Senate floor -- instead of the limited debate the proposal has received in Senate committees and sub-committees -- and expressed his confidence that the bill will move forward before the end of the session.

The extension actually marks a step backward for the House of Representatives. The House had passed a reform bill that would have renewed NFIP for five years. Understanding, however, that the program would expire long before any Senate floor debate could take place, the House agreed to the short-term fix.

The extension came just in time: The hurricane season officially opens on June 1. But hurricanes were not the source of the major floods across the country in 2011. Snow melt and heavy rains between April and June wrought havoc in almost every region of the U.S.

For Florida homeowners who rely on NFIP for coverage, this year's forecast is good news: The risk of major flooding events this year is much lower. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, above-average rainfall and a slightly higher than normal risk of flooding are forecast only for the Ohio River basin and parts of the Deep South. Florida and the Atlantic Seaboard should be spared.

Of course, there are those storms that have been dumping rain on South Florida for the past few days....

Sources:

Business Insurance, "Senate approves 60-day extension of the National Flood Insurance Program," Mark A. Hofmann, May 24, 2012

Insurance Journal, "Risk of Major Spring Flooding Lowest in Years," May 24, 2012

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