Senate Panel Passes Flood Extension

The Senate Banking Committee last this week approved a bi-partisan bill to reform the National Flood Insurance Program, extending it out for five more years.  

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The legislation phases out subsidized insurance rates for second and vacation homes over four years.

It requires lenders to escrow flood insurance payments for all properties that are located in flood zones where purchasing flood insurance is mandatory.

In cases where properties are newly mapped into a 100-year flood zone, insurance rates would be phased in over four years.

Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., said the bill, “puts the program on a more fiscally sound path and phases in premium increases.”

Committee leaders continue to work on an amendment by Rep. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., to ensure the federal flood insurance program is not forced to pay for wind damage that should be covered by private insurers.  “We have an agreement in principal and we will work this out,” Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala.

The House of Representatives passed a five-year NFIP reform bill in July by a 406-22 vote.  

Separately, the Banking Committee approved the President’s nominations of Martin Gruenberg to be the new FDIC chairman, and Thomas Curry to head the Comptroller of the Currency.

However, Senators Shelby and Bob Corker, R-Tenn., expressed concerns about Curry’s “independence” from political and White House pressure, which could hold up his confirmation by the full Senate.

Currently, Gruenberg and Curry sit on the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. board of directors.  Gruenberg is the acting FDIC chairman and Curry is an FDIC director. 

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Article source: http://www.nationalmortgagenews.com/dailybriefing/2010_428/senate-passes-flood-extension-1026479-1.html

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