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U.S. House approves flood insurance program reform and extension
By Insure.com staff

The U.S. House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly July 12 to extend and revamp the troubled National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The program, now $18 billion in debt, is scheduled to expire Sept. 30 without Congressional action. The bipartisan bill, approved by a 406-22 vote, requires movement toward rates that accurately reflect risk to reduce the program's debt, adds coverage improvements, such as additional living expenses and optional business interruption protection, and extends the program by five years.

What's at risk if NFIP lapses?

More than 5.6 million Americans rely on flood insurance through NFIP. Standard home and renters insurance policies do not cover damage from flooding.

Policy makers have long been calling for reform of the program, which has operated under a series of short-term extensions.

"In 2010 alone, the NFIP lapsed four times and flood coverage could not be purchased or renewed for a total of 53 days," Ben McKay, senior vice president of federal government relations for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, said in a statement. "Lapses in NFIP coverage have created uncertainty in the housing market and left homes and businesses even more vulnerable to devastating floods, while leaving taxpayers exposed to costly relief efforts."

The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.

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