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WASHINGTON -- On Sept. 30, just six months from today, the National Flood Insurance Program will expire. The National Association of Realtors is working closely with federal regulators and members of Congress to strengthen the program and clear the way for a private market to take hold; NAR has also issued a series of principles to improve access and affordability for consumers.
But Realtors warn the program's Sept. 30 reauthorization deadline is a threat to consumers.
NAR President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor from Alamo, Calif. and founder of Investment Properties, believes that expiration would deal significant damage to current policy-holding property owners, as well as threaten property sales and the broader housing market.
Brown said that Realtors see the NFIP's importance every day in their lives and in their business and made the following statement:
"When the NFIP expired in 2010, over 1,300 home sales were disrupted every day as a result. That's over 40,000 every month. Flood insurance is required for a mortgage in the 100-year floodplain, but without access to the NFIP, buyers simply couldn't get a mortgage or vital protection from the No. 1 cause of loss of property and life: flooding.
"This problem affects far more than coastal communities, and prospective homeowners aren't the only ones at risk. Policyholders in over 22,000 communities across the country depend on the NFIP to protect homes and businesses from torrential rain, swollen rivers and lakes, snowmelt, failing infrastructure, as well as storm surges and hurricanes. When that lifeline is cut off, the NFIP can't issue new policies or renew existing residential or commercial policies that expire. That means current home and business owners may find their most important asset unprotected.
"Last year was the third largest claims payout year in NFIP's history, costing more than $4 billion. While there were five billion-dollar floods, including Hurricane Matthew, four of the five were inland, and the largest single event was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana in August, just one year out from the NFIP's expiration date.
"The NFIP isn't perfect, and reforms are needed. We will continue working closely with everyone involved to achieve those reforms.
"Good work has been done in Congress, at FEMA and elsewhere to clear the way for those efforts. We thank leaders on both sides of the aisle for all they've done up to this point. Now, it's time for action. Congress has six months to do the right thing and pass a long-term reauthorization of the program. We're hoping they do just that."
The National Association of Realtors, "The Voice for Real Estate," is America's largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.
From Polly Kordinak, president of Portage County Association of Realtors, "Helping Our Neighbors & Protecting the American Dream"