National Flood Insurance Program at Risk
National Flood Insurance Program - Deadline September 30, 2011
The only way that a home owner can acquire a federally backed mortgage in over 21,000 communities is through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). There is virtually no private insurance market and standard home owner policies do not cover flood damage. Housing markets in many areas will come to a complete standstill unless this program gets reauthorized. Also, existing home owners whose mortgage requires them to have flood insurance may find themselves in default if the program lapses and they are unable to renew their policies before the 30-day grace period ends. Banks will not lend without a policy in place and the program cannot issue a flood policy without renewing the Congressional authority.
Without this insurance program more of the burden for the cleanup from a flood falls to tax payers in the form of federal post-disaster assistance. More hurricanes are already on the horizon and forecasts predict this to be a busy storm season. Combined with record rainfall and snow melt, flood disasters have also been declared all across the Midwest. We can expect to see more of the same just about everywhere. This program must be in place to help keep already fragile markets moving on the eastern seaboard and beyond
I wrote a letter to both my representatives in the Senate and Congress. Please send your call to action letter to your Senator and Congressman before the deadline of September 30, 2011. Here is an example of the letter...just personalize it.
Sep 19, 2011
Senator Orrin Hatch
Hart Senate Office Building, Room 104
Constitution Avenue and 2nd Street, NE
Washington, DC 20510-4402
Dear Senator Hatch,
As a constituent and REALTOR, I can testify firsthand about the critical need for certainty to local real estate markets, property owners and surrounding communities, particularly in times of economic recovery. Yet, there have been nine stopgap extensions and five shutdowns of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) since September of 2008; just one of the multi-week lapses last year alone caused 47,000 home sales to be delayed or cancelled in already down real estate markets.
Now is not the time to add uncertainty. For this reason, I urge you to reauthorize this vital program for a full five years, before September 30, 2011, when the program's authority is again set to expire.
Across the nation, the NFIP enables dozens if not hundreds of property owners to protect their family and property against floods, which claimed more lives and property than any other U.S. natural disaster over the past century. Nationally, this program is the only source of flood-damage protection for 5.6 million home- and business owners, as well as the builders, remodelers, movers, furnishers, real estate professionals, mortgage lenders, investors, insurance agents and other companies upon which they relied to buy or sell property. Just as important, without a stable, functioning flood insurance program, real estate transactions in many of these neighborhoods across 21,000 communities nationwide could come to a standstill.
By ensuring access to affordable property insurance, NFIP saves taxpayers money. Insurance reduces the amount of post-disaster relief paid for by all taxpayers. However, this insurance is not available in the private market except for the wealthiest and highest valued property (at least $1 million), according to the General Accountability Office. Without this program, more property owners would have to turn back to the federal government and thus taxpayers for rebuilding assistance after the next major flood, as they did before the NFIP was created in 1968.
I respectfully request that you not allow another expiration of NFIP authority. For the sake of the communities, property owners, and taxpayers across the nation, please fully reauthorize this program for five years before the September 30, 2011, deadline. Real estate markets cannot afford any more uncertainty.
Ms. ShirLee McGarry
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