Thursday, March 31, 2011
The House subcommittee preparing a flood insurance reform measure will have its second hearing on April 1 to hear testimony from Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate. Fugate was unable to be at the first hearing on March 11 as he was directing the government’s response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. The Insurance, Housing and Community Opportunity Subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Judy Biggert, is considering a measure to reauthorize and reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by FEMA. Biggert’s initial draft of a bill received a generally positive bipartisan and business response, although some lawmakers voiced concern that it did not go far enough to address the $18 billion debt the program faces and others balked at adding additional living expenses and business interruption coverage options to the program. Others urged Biggert to move more towards privatization of the program. “NFIP is underwater by nearly $18 billion. A fiscal disaster can’t respond to a natural one. We need to put the program back on track so that it can provide reliable protection for the homes and businesses that need it — without putting taxpayers at undue risk,” Biggert said. She said FEMA’s testimony is “critical to ensuring that the program can meet the next challenge.” The hearing will take place on Friday, April 1 at 10:30 a.m.