Wicker Supports NFIP Extension, Pushes for Long-Term Reforms

Miss. Senator Supports Using Data to Help Determine Water Damage from Hurricanes

May 25, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today supported a 60-day extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  Without the action, the program would have expired on May 31.

As part of an agreement on the short-term extension, Senate leadership agreed to take up a five-year NFIP reauthorization with several reforms in early June.  That plan will include a measure proposed by Wicker to use scientific data to help determine water damage following a major hurricane.

“Both sides agree that NFIP needs changes to make it viable for homeowners and taxpayers, and this agreement moves us closer to those reforms,” said Wicker.  “Families living on the coast or in other floodplains need more certainty than the piecemeal approach that has been the norm.  I remain committed to putting a workable solution for flood insurance in place.”

NFIP was last authorized in 2004.  The program has been operating under a series of short-term extensions since 2008.  This Congress, five-year reauthorizations have passed the full House and the Senate Banking Committee, but they had been stalled since committee passage last September.  These bills include reforms designed to restore the program’s solvency and protect taxpayers.

During Senate markup, an agreement was reached with the Banking Committee Chairman and Ranking Member to add an amendment Wicker authored, known as the COASTAL Amendment, when the bill is considered by the full Senate.  

The COASTAL Amendment would use hurricane data collected by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in conjunction with engineering formulas to be developed by FEMA to double check flood insurance claims for total-loss, “slab” properties.

Use of the COASTAL formula will help prevent the inappropriate shifting of wind claims to the flood program and will empower consumers by providing a better estimation of wind versus water losses.