The House has passed a bill that would revive the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which lapsed on May 31, 2010.

Sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Ca.) and Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), H.R. 5569, the “National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010,” seeks to keep the cash-strapped program afloat until Sept. 30, 2010.

For the past few years, the NFIP has limped along on a series of temporary extensions as lawmakers have failed to come to a lasting agreement about the funding and reach of the program. The primary source of contention has been whether or not to include coverage for wind damage in the program. Consumer advocates and legislators from coastal regions have been pushing for the wind inclusion, while associations representing the insurance industry counter the wind inclusion would force private insurers from the market.

John Prible, VP of federal government affairs for the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America [http://www.iiaba.net], says a lasting resolution to the impasse is vital as the nation enters hurricane season.

“More than three weeks into the 2010 hurricane season, which started on June 1 and scientists are forecasting will be very active, millions of homeowners and small businesses are in flood insurance limbo” Prible said in a statement. “We are increasingly frustrated by these repeated short term extensions and the periods of expiration that sometimes result from them. While we commend the House action today, a more permanent solution in the form of a long term extension of the program is a top priority for the Big ‘I’ and the 300,000 independent insurance agents, brokers and staff we represent.”

With H.R. 5569 passed, the effort to revive the NFIP shifts to the Senate, where a companion piece of legislation is included a larger jobs bill that has yet to reach the chamber floor.

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