President Signs Flood Renewal Bill

President George Bush signed the flood insurance bill on June 30 that extends the National Flood Insurance Program for four years.

NFIP was due to expire after June 30, but the president signed the bill just in time and the Federal Emergency Management Agency continued to issue flood insurance policies without interruption.

"This multiyear extension eliminates the annual scramble to reauthorize the program," the Mortgage Bankers Association said.

The bill (S. 2238) extends the flood insurance program through September 2008 and creates a new $40-million pilot program that is designed to reduce the cost of insurance claims on properties that are repeatedly hit by floods.

Under the pilot program, homeowners who refuse federal buyouts or other forms of assistance to shore-up, elevate or move their properties will see their flood insurance premiums increase dramatically.

The bill also requires notification of mortgage lenders when flood mitigation assistance is offered or refused.

House Financial Services Committee chairman Michael Oxley, R-Ohio, congratulated the original sponsors of the bill, Rep. Doug Bereuter, R-Neb., and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., for their efforts that led to the passage of the reform bill.

"The reforms set out in this law fortify the original intent of the NFIP while preventing unacceptable expenses to the taxpayers," Rep. Oxley said.

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