Congress passes measure to extend National Flood Insurance Program for 5 years Reply

A look at the Connecticut River from a levee in Hadley, MA. In 2011, the river was expected to crest as a result of what was a downgraded hurricane, Tropical Storm Irene

After several years of short-term extensions, Congress finally passed a five year extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with the passage of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012. It was part of a much larger bill that included a transportation bill and extended the Federal Direct Stafford Student Loan Program. The student loan measure, incidentally, helped the real estate market by keeping interest rates on student loans down.

As implied in the name of the Act, there will be some changes to NFIP. According to BusinessInsurance.com, the measure, “reforms the program through such actions as phasing out subsidies for many properties, raising the cap on annual premium increases to 25% from 10%, imposing minimum deductibles for flood claims, and requiring the NFIP administrator to develop a plan for repaying the debt incurred from Hurricane Katrina.”

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) credited key congressman for extending NFIP.

“It would not have been possible without the leadership of Reps. Biggert, Waters, Bachus and Frank, as well as Sens. Johnson, Shelby, Tester and Vitter.”

You can probably guess for whom Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012 was named.

For the past several years flood insurance had only been extended a few months at time creating a certain degree of uncertainty in the housing market. NAR claimed that the sales of 40,000 homes were stalled in June 2010.

Hurricane Irene reminded us all how vulnerable western Massachusetts is to flooding.  If you are considering purchasing a home and are unsure if the property is located in a flood zone, Floodsmart.gov provides you with a tool where you can simply type in the address.

Specializing in western Massachusetts real estate, call Michael Seward at 413-531-7129 if you are looking to buy or sell a home in the Pioneer Valley.

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