House votes to reduce government's role in managing flood insurance policies

The amendment was attached to the Flood Insurance Reform Act, H.R. 1309, which amends and extends FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) was eager to see the amendment approved, arguing that it ensures the private sector has a shot at managing these policies, not the federal government.

"We are pleased that the House has adopted this important amendment that protects both NFIP policyholders and captive agents," said Ben McKay, PCI's senior vice president of federal government relations. "This measure is integral for preventing the federal government's management of flood insurance from increasing by 700 percent and competing with the private sector."

The privatization amendment is just one of several the House considered on Friday. By voice vote, members also accepted language from Bachus that would give communities more time to repair levies and other flood protection systems.

Members also accepted language from Rep. Tim Walberg (R-Mich.) that prohibits new flood insurance rate maps by FEMA until a report is submitted on new mapping standards, and language from Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) that allows communities to be reimbursed for some costs if they successfully challenge a FEMA flood mapping error.

Several other minor amendments were adopted by voice vote, including several technical amendments.

The House rejected language from Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) that would keep the annual limitation on increases in flood insurance premiums to 10 percent, not the 20 percent cap in the bill.

As expected, the House soundly rejected an amendment from Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) that would have terminated the NFIP, by a 38-384 vote. Miller argued earlier today that the government should not be in the business of flood insurance at all.

Other amendments voted on today:

• Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), to prohibit lenders from requiring homeowners to buy more than the legally required minimum amount of flood insurance. Failed 195-230.

• Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), to remove language authorizing new lines of insurance coverage for business interruption and cost of living expenses. Failed 118-305.

• Dennis Cardoza (D-Calif.), to eliminate requirements to map areas considered to be a residual flood risk. Accepted 261-163.

• Lynn Westmoreland (R-Ga.), to add a reserve fund requirement to the NFIP. Accepted 241-183.

• Candice Miller (R-Mich.), to terminate NFIP television and radio advertising. Failed 186-238.

• Bobby Scott (D-Va.), to require a study on the effects of a market for all-peril insurance policies for residential properties. Failed 192-230.


—This story was updated at 5:57 p.m. to reflect amendment votes.

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