Reforming the National Flood Insurance Program is a top agenda item for NAMIC in 2009. As you may recall, NAMIC worked with key congressional leaders in the 110th Congress to reform and reauthorize the NFIP. While we were successful in getting passage of legislation in both the House and Senate, we strongly objected to a provision in the House-passed measure that would have included wind coverage. Ultimately, no final legislation was adopted before Congress adjourned. Instead, Congress included a short-term extension of the NFIP as part of a Continuing Resolution that expires March 6.
It is now up to the 111th Congress to address much-needed reforms of the NFIP before this vital program expires. However, with a new Congress and administration, it is more likely that another temporary extension will be adopted before its expiration so that the House Financial Services and Senate Banking Committees can pass legislation that can be sent to the president for a quick signature and enactment.
Also this year, NAMIC will continue to be at the forefront of efforts to promote effective state and local administration of modern building codes. It is clear that standardized building codes – and adequate enforcement of those codes – play an increasingly important role in public safety and loss prevention, even in states that do not have a major natural disaster catastrophe exposure. For those states that commonly experience natural disasters, a program that provides financial incentives could be very desirable.
NAMIC developed the Building Codes Coalition to bring together industry key players in an effort to proactively be part of the solution to natural disaster mitigation. During the 110th Congress, the BCC was instrumental in advancing legislation that would provide federal incentives for states to adopt and enforce strong statewide building codes. Late in 2008, the BCC led a bipartisan effort toward adoption of a Senate bill that would have created a national program to provide awards to local governments.
While final approval was not forthcoming, NAMIC’s work on this vital issue has garnered increasingly more support during the last few years. In the 111th Congress, the BCC will continue to advocate for legislation that will incentivize states to create or better enforce statewide building codes.
Direct questions to NAMIC's Federal Affairs Director Kathy Mitchell.