REALTORS® claimed a big victory last week when President Obama signed into law the 5-year reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program. NAR spent years advocating on behalf of this legislation and its 1 million members, by participating in several calls for action and making passage a talking point on Hill visits for years, were instrumental in getting it finally passed.
President signs bill into law. Click photo to access new law. Source: White House.
More than just helping to get the law passed, REALTORS® were instrumental in making it a better piece of legislation.
First and foremost, the law reauthorizes federal flood insurance authority for the long-term, eliminating the constant uncertainty that flood insurance wouldn’t be available in the 21,000 communities where it’s required for obtaining a mortgage. Second, it maintains comprehensive coverage for all properties, including second homes and vacation homes. Third, it’s a revenue raiser, which will help pay down a loan from the U.S. Treasury to cover the massive Hurricane Katrina costs from 2005. Fourth, it improves the accuracy of flood plain mapping, which will continue a trend toward improved mapping so that the industry has clarity over where flood insurance is required and where it’s not. And fifth, it builds in the opportunity for further improvements to the entire flood insurance program over time, so if things aren’t working well, NAR and others will know it and have a framework for getting improvements built in.
There are many other positives to the new law, including a much improved appeals process for home owners to challenge the accuracy of the flood plain map that the federal government is using for their area.
As NAR President Moe Veissi says in a previous post on this blog, getting this reauthorization and reform program enacted into law shows that bipartisanship in the federal government still exists when the need is clear and the legislation is reasonable. It’s no surprise that it’s a program important to real estate that serves as a bipartisan vehicle for cooperation, because real estate in general and home ownership in particular are among the most bipartisan matters the federal government deals with on a regular basis.
There will be plenty of legislative and regulatory challenges for real estate in the months and years ahead, but for now, real estate shows once again it has the power to bind lawmakers together for the common good.
Get all the details about flood insurance reauthorization on REALTOR.org.
Read the new law in its entirety. Flood insurance reauthorization is Title II.