Sen. Wicker: Flood insurance reforms are necessary

Nearly 5.6 million National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies were in effect nationwide last year, but the program will expire on September 30, 2011, unless an agreement can be reached to extend it. Homeowners on the Gulf Coast depend on the NFIP to make them whole if flooding from a hurricane destroys their property. Last week, I introduced the Consumer Option for an Alternative System to Allocate Losses (COASTAL) Act, S. 1091, which would make needed reforms and reauthorize the NFIP for five years.

In addition to extending the NFIP, the COASTAL Act would use scientific data to settle total loss properties after a hurricane. Following Hurricane Katrina, the wind versus water dilemma faced many homeowners who lost everything. Insurance assessors had to determine how much of the damage was caused by wind or water. The COASTAL Act helps resolve this issue, and answering it should further the effort to enact a multi-year NFIP reauthorization.

By Roger Wicker, U.S. Senator