On Friday, September 7th, the Senate passed a bill increasing the disaster aid within the National Flood Insurance Program (the “NFIP”) to $15 billion. The NFIP was initially established in 1968 to provide flood coverage to properties located in flood zones, as a response to flood insurance becoming too costly through private insurers. The NFIP is scheduled to expire at the end of the month; however, the Senate bill proposes a three-month extension to the program. The Senate bill must first be passed through the House, which may present problems due to the fact that the Senate bill also includes a provision to increase the federal debt ceiling, which may meet stiff resistance from House Republicans.
Representative Jeb Hensarling, a Texas representative who serves as the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, stated that he would accept the three-month extension of the NFIP and add a provision that would make it easier for private insurers to expand into the flood coverage market.
As Florida continues to feel the effects of Hurricane Irma, it is notable that only 42% of homes in Florida’s coastal counties have flood coverage. In addition, some of the steepest declines in NFIP coverage have occurred in Florida, particularly in the greater-Miami area.