WASHINGTON, Jan. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Congress did the right thing by voting to raise the borrowing limit of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), according to the National Association of Professional Insurance Agents (PIA).
On Friday January 4, the U.S. Senate and House voted to increase the borrowing authority of the NFIP by one-third, to $30.425 billion from $20.775 billion. The bill now goes to the President for his signature.
"PIA is pleased that Congress has begun to act to assure that valid claims filed by property owners who are insured under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will continue to be paid," said PIA National assistant vice president for federal affairs Mike Becker. "The action by Congress to raise the borrowing authority of the NFIP will alleviate the immediate threat that many flood claims from Tropical Cyclone Sandy, as well as other storms, would not be paid. We appreciate that Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.) took the lead to introduce a bill that would increase funding to the NFIP."
Funding for insured flood claims along with relief for the victims of Tropical Cyclone Sandy got ensnared in Washington politics when House Speaker John Boehner (R- Ohio) cancelled a scheduled vote on a Sandy aid package on January 1, minutes after the House approved a deal to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff." That prompted cries of outrage from lawmakers from areas in the Northeast devastated by the October 29 storm, along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). Boehner quickly relented, scheduling a vote on increased NFIP borrowing authority for January 4 and a Sandy aid package for January 15.Of the need to pay the claims of those who are insured by the NFIP, PIA National President Andrew C. Harris said, "Not paying valid claims is simply not an option. The federal government has both a legal obligation and a moral imperative to pay to indemnify policyholders for their covered flood losses in policies backed by the NFIP." Since Sandy struck, PIA immediately began lobbying Congress for action to increase the NFIP's borrowing authority, as well as for expedited relief for the victims of the storm.