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WASHINGTON – April 18, 2017 – The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is set to expire in September, but several proposals have strong bipartisan support in Congress, according to a new survey conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Congress must decide soon how it will handle the national flood insurance program: The current program expires on Sept. 30, 2017. The National Association of Realtors® (NAR) says it’s working closely with federal regulators and members of Congress to strengthen the program.

The survey of registered voters didn’t ask about debt forgiveness for the NFIP, but most knew little about the current state of the program: 82 percent didn’t know enough to say whether the program was in a deficit or surplus position.

However, 74 percent supported three or more proposed reforms to the NFIP, and that support extended across party lines and various regions of the country says Lori Weigel, partner at Public Opinion Strategies. Personal experience with floods also played only a small role.

82 percent supported or strongly supported (49 percent) a proposal to require all future federal spending in infrastructure located in a flood-prone area be constructed to better withstand flooding. This includes federal funds used to build new structures and facilities, or to help rebuild those severely damaged by flooding. This support cut across party lines, with 92 percent of Democrats, 78 percent of independents, and 74 percent of Republicans supporting flood-ready infrastructure.
75 percent supported and strongly supported (43 percent) a proposal for conservation buyouts. Bipartisan support was strong for this proposal, too, with 85 percent of Democrats, 71 percent of independents, and 66 percent of Republicans supporting it.
There was broad support for a community repetitive loss proposal, with 64 percent supporting and strongly supporting (28 percent) requiring communities with more than 50 homes classified by the government as repeatedly flooding to invest in tactics that reduce the risk of future flood damage.
Some stakeholders say that regional disagreements could be an obstacle to NFIP reform. However, the survey found that 83 percent of voters from the Northeast and South support the flood-ready infrastructure proposal, 81 percent support in the Midwest, and 82 percent in the West.

Source: Business Insurance (04/05/17) Gonzalez, Gloria

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