Friday, October 1, 2010

Federal flood insurance program, after repeatedly lapsing this year, is reauthorized for another year

The National Flood Insurance Program, a critical protection in many Washington communities, has been reauthorized for another year. President Barack Obama signed S. 3814 into law Thursday, extending the federal flood insurance program through Sept. 30, 2011.

“This can be important and affordable coverage for property owners and renters in flood-prone areas,” said Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. Many lenders require flood coverage in order to qualify for mortgages in flood zones.

The program lapsed several times this year, and was slated to lapse again at the end of September. During lapses, flood policies remain in force for those who have them, but new policies cannot be written or renewed.

“While the program needs changes to make it more financially sustainable, this move by the President and Congress gives property owners another year of stability and protection,” said Kreidler.

Standard homeowners policies do not cover flooding, Kreidler said. Property owners should strongly consider the federal flood coverage, he said, which is widely available.

This summer, Kreidler established a program, the Washington Flood Market Assistance Plan, to help businesses obtain additional private insurance in south King County’s Green River Valley.