The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced late Friday it will once again issue and renew flood insurance policies, reversing its earlier controversial ruling from last week that banned sales of the polices during the partial shutdown of the federal government.
A statement posted to the FEMA website Friday read in part, “As of this evening, all NFIP insurers have been directed to resume normal operations immediately and advised that the program will be considered operational since December 21, 2018 without interruption.”
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) called it “a critical win for home sales.”
“FEMA and the Administration deserve credit for hearing our concerns and acting swiftly to address them,” said 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 December 21, Congress passed legislation that extended the National Flood Insurance Program until May 31, 2019. In an unexpected policy decision on December 26, however, FEMA 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,” said Shannon McGahn, NAR senior vice president of Government Affairs.
Stay tuned to RISMedia for ongoing developments. Information about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is available on NAR’s website.
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