In a critical win for buyers and sellers of property requiring flood insurance during the partial government shutdown, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will issue and renew flood insurance policies, reversing an unexpected and controversial ruling the agency released earlier this week. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) was instrumental in convincing FEMA to reverse course.
Timelines for FEMA to resume issuing and renewing flood insurance policies over the holiday weekend are still unknown. Check Florida Realtors’ Facebook page and the home page of floridarealtors.org for updates.
"FEMA and the [White House] Administration deserve credit for hearing our concerns and acting swiftly to address them," says NAR President John Smaby. "This new decision means thousands of home sale transactions in communities across the country can go forward without interruption, as Congress intended when it renewed the flood insurance program earlier this week. Our research has shown that 40,000 home sales are lost every month that flood insurance is not available."
On Dec. 21, Congress passed legislation that extends the National Flood Insurance Program until May 31, 2019. In an unexpected policy decision, though, FEMA on Dec. 26 said it couldn't allow insurers to issue and renew federal policies while the partial government shutdown was ongoing. That ruling was unexpected because in past government shutdowns, FEMA continued to operate the program as authorized.
NAR, along with other organizations, including the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America and the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers of America, urged policy makers to reevaluate the decision. Congress expressed concern as well.
"We thank the Administration and Congress for stepping up so quickly to ensure the smooth continuation of flood insurance at a time when market disruption would be extremely hard-felt," says Shannon McGahn, NAR senior vice president of government affairs.
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