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NFIP stuck in ‘Groundhog Day’

By Jay MacDonald · Bankrate.com
Friday, October 7, 2011
Posted: 9 am ET

The National Flood Insurance Program remains stuck in a "Groundhog Day" scenario, fated to relive the same short-term extension scenario over and over until Congress puts on its big-boy pants and commits to a sustainable overhaul that will last longer than green bananas.

President Obama put pen to the Fiscal Year 2012 Continuing Resolution on Wednesday, which keeps the current NFIP on life support until Nov. 18. The act also averts another government shutdown for the same period, thus avoiding that cliffhanger rerun.

By now, the home insurance and real estate industries are so hoarse from screaming about the NFIP tape loop that they barely bother to applaud when Congress does muster the fortitude to renew this deeply flawed but critical program. Without it, new flood insurance policies cannot be written, leaving pending home sales stalled in areas where flood coverage is required.

About the best that Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers vice president John Prible could manage was an understated "git-r-done."

 "Today's action buys Congress more time for work on the long-term reform and extension effort," Prible said. "We now urge Senate leadership to quickly bring the reform bill to the full Senate floor for consideration to allow the House and Senate enough time to reconcile their two bills. We are now closer to achieving a long-term reform and extension bill than at any point in recent memory and we urge Congressional leadership to finally push this over the finish line."

Sis boom bah.

Prible refers of course to the limbo state in which NFIP currently finds itself. In July, the House passed its version of a NFIP makeover that would overhaul and fund the flood insurance program through 2016. Unfortunately, the Senate version has yet to emerge from the Senate Committee on Banking. Once the full Senate passes its NFIP fix, the real wrangling will begin as the left and right hemispheres of Congress attempt to find common ground.

Today is Oct. 7. There are exactly 42 days before NFIP runs out of money again.

Any bets that this Congress will have agreed on a workable redesign by then?

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