Bipartisan Bill to Extend and Reform National Flood Insurance Program Introduced in Senate, House

National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) logo

Bipartisan legislation recently introduced in the Senate and House would reauthorize and extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years, providing greater stability for real estate markets, homeowners, and small business owners as the nation continues to struggle with inflationary pressures and increased threats of extreme weather. The National Flood Insurance Program Reauthorization (NFIP-RE) Act of 2023 would also implement a series of sweeping reforms to reduce program costs, make generational investments in communities to reduce flood risk, and establish a fairer claims process for policyholders. (Legislative text and PoliticoPro, June 22)

Risk Mitigation

  • A new flood rating methodology (Risk Rating 2.0) established by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) attracted the attention of policymakers from coastal and flood-prone areas after it was reported that resulting rate hikes may result in the loss of coverage for hundreds of thousands of policyholders. (Associated Press, July 22)
  • Sens. Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA), alongside Reps. Frank Pallone (D-NJ) and Clay Higgins (R-LA), introduced the NFIP-RE Act (S. 2142 and H.R. 4349) to put the program on solid fiscal ground. The Senate Banking Committee is leading this bicameral and bipartisan reform effort. (One-page summary of the bill)
  • The Roundtable is a long-standing supporter of a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP with appropriate reforms that create long-term stability for policyholders, improved accuracy of flood maps, mitigation reforms, enhanced affordability, and the acceptance of non-NFIP policies for commercial properties. (Roundtable Weekly, May 27, 2022)

Proposed Changes

Person building sandbag barrier

  • Congress has enacted 25 short-term NFIP reauthorizations since 2017. The NFIP-RE Act of 2023 would:
    • Extend the program for five years and cap annual rate increases at 9%.

    • Provide a comprehensive means-tested voucher for millions of low- and middle-income homeowners and renters if their flood insurance premium becomes prohibitively expensive.

    • Increase the maximum limit for Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage to reflect more accurately the costs of rebuilding and implementing mitigation projects.

    • Boost funding for mitigation grants and modernize mapping to identify and reduce flood risks.

    • Create new oversight measures for insurance companies and vendors.

    • Reform the claims process based on lessons learned from Superstorm Sandy and other disasters, to level the playing field for policyholders during appeal or litigation, hold FEMA accountable to strict deadlines so that homeowners get quick and fair payments, and ban aggressive legal tactics preventing homeowners from filing legitimate claims.

Sen. Menendez said, “With disastrous flooding events becoming all the more common, we must work to create a more sustainable, resilient, and affordable flood insurance program that invests in prevention and mitigation efforts, and all while ensure hard-working Americans can have peace of mind in the event of a disaster.” (Menendez news release, June 22)

#  #  # 

Hurricane Ian Raises Issues on Natural Catastrophe Risk and Reform of National Flood Insurance Program

Hurricane Ian aftermath

The catastrophic damage revealed this week in the wake of Hurricane Ian shows the need for Congress to address natural catastrophe risk and pass a long-term reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The Real Estate Roundtable has long advocated for a long-term program extension to avoid lapses that create uncertainty in both the insurance and housing markets.


  • Originally enacted in 1968, the NFIP has been extended under 22 short-term congressional reauthorizations, including last week’s stopgap funding bill that extended government operations until Dec. 16. (Congressional Research Service report, Oct. 3 and Roundtable Weekly, Sept. 30)
  • The total potential debt exposure to properties in the path of Ian could be as high as $52 billion. (Trepp, Sept. 29 “Hurricane Ian Makes Landfall: Mapping the Commercial Real Estate Exposure”)
  • Recovery from storms could take longer and cost more to rebuild amid continued supply chain constraints and inflationary pressures. Media coverage included:
    • “Property Damage from Hurricane Ian Now Estimated Between $41 Billion to $70 Billion” (WorldPropertyJournal, Oct. 7)
    • “The Impact Hurricane Ian Could Have on CRE(GlobeSt, Oct. 3)
    • “’Never Seen Anything Like This’: CRE Assesses Impact Of Hurricane Ian” (BisNow, Oct. 2)
    • “Ian will ‘financially ruin’ homeowners and insurers” (PolitcoPro, Oct. 1)

The Roundtable continues to work with lawmakers and coalition partners to address catastrophic risk issues and enact a long-term extension to the NFIP that includes effective reforms.

#  #  #

New Legislation to Reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program Released Before House Committee Hearing

urban Flood Hurricane Sandy

The House Subcommittee on Housing, Community Development, and Insurance held a hearing on May 25 to address the reauthorization and reform of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Funding for the program is set to expire on Sept. 30 if reauthorization is not passed by Congress. (Hearing Webcast and Committee Memorandum)

  • Since the last major reauthorization expired at the end of fiscal 2017, there have been 19 short-term NFIP extensions and several brief lapses, according to the committee’s memo.
  • Five draft bills were released in conjunction with the hearing, including two from House Financial Services Committee Chair Maxine Waters (D-CA). Her first bill would reauthorize the program for five years, renew flood risk mapping and mitigation funds, and offer discounted rates to lower-income households. Water’s second bill would cancel the indebtedness of the NFIP. 

The Roundtable View
NFIP logo

  • The Roundtable supports a long-term reauthorization of the NFIP with appropriate reforms that create long-term stability for policyholders, improved accuracy of flood maps, improved mitigation, enhanced affordability, and the acceptance of non-NFIP policies for commercial properties. (Roundtable website)
  • Under the current NFIP, commercial property flood insurance limits are very low – $500,000 per building and $500,000 for its contents. Lenders typically require this base NFIP coverage, and commercial owners must purchase Supplemental Excess Flood Insurance for coverage above the NFIP limits.
  • The Roundtable and its coalition partners support NFIP reauthorization with the inclusion of provisions that permit a voluntary “commercial exemption” for mandatory NFIP coverage if commercial property owners currently maintain adequate flood coverage.
  • Given the low coverage amounts provided to commercial properties, it is important to permit larger commercial loans to be exempt from the mandatory NFIP purchase requirements.

Congress will face the possibility of yet another NFIP funding extension before September 30 if policymakers cannot agree on reforming the program through legislation.

#  #   #