Time is still ticking on the impending expiration of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), but the first hurdle has now been cleared. The Senate yesterday passed S. 3814, the “Flood Insurance Extension Act of 2010,” which extends the program through Sept. 30, 2011.

“The recent series of expirations and temporary extensions are negatively impacting the market,” says Charles Symington Jr., The Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America (IIABA) SVP for government affairs. “The Big ‘I’ commends the Senate, and especially Sen. Vitter, for passing this bill which will provide much needed stability and security for the NFIP and its five and a half million policyholders.”

Since 2008, the NFIP has been operating under a series of short-term extensions. Congress already has allowed the program to lapse four times since the start of the year. President Obama signed the latest extension into law on July 2.

“Unfortunately, recent years have provided ample evidence of the destruction left behind by floods that highlight the urgency and importance of extending the NFIP,” says John Prible, IIABA VP for federal government affairs. “With the program set to once again expire September 30, the Big “I” urges the House to follow the Senate’s lead and immediately adopt the Senate-passed legislation.”

Prible's concerns echo those of the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America, which late last week called on Congress for the speedy passage of an extension.

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