Congress to probe oversight of flood insurance program

April 14, 2005

House Subcommittee to address 'administrative problems'

Inman News

The House Financial Services Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development chaired by Rep. Robert W. Ney, R-Ohio, will meet tomorrow for a hearing on administrative problems facing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and how those problems will be resolved.

In June 2004, President Bush signed legislation that reauthorized the NFIP through September 2008. The Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004 enacted reforms that deal with repetitive loss properties and flood mitigation.

"Floods are among the most frequent and costly natural disasters, which is why it is so important that we have in place a strong and effective National Flood Insurance Program. Congress did the right thing last year by reauthorizing the NFIP, but it has become clear that some administrative problems still exist within this important program," Ney said in a statement. "Therefore, the Subcommittee intends to focus on what these problems are, and more importantly, what steps are being taken by FEMA and the private insurance industry to resolve them. In addition, the hearing will also address the current funding difficulties impacting the implementation of the Flood Insurance Reform Act."

Congress established the NFIP in 1968. Prior to that, many homeowners were unable to insure against flood losses because private insurers did not offer such coverage. Since 1969, the NFIP has paid $12.7 billion for flood insurance claims and related costs.

Scheduled to testify are David Maurstad, Mitigation Division director and flood insurance administrator, Department of Homeland Security; Chad Berginnis, vice chairman, Association of State Flood Plain Managers; Donald L. Griffin, VP of Personal Lines, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America; William O. Jenkins Jr., director, Homeland Security and Justice, U.S. Government Accountability Office; and Alfred W. Redmer Jr., Maryland insurance commissioner.

The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. in room 2128 of the Rayburn Building.

Copyright 2005 Inman News

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