Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Before the deluge

It's going to flood this spring in Iowa. And in Fargo. And in St. Paul. And in Moorhead. A flood emergency has already been declared in Bismark.

But the National Flood Insurance Program expired yesterday. Why - in the face of massive spring flooding across the Midwest - would such a program be allowed to lapse?

Jim Bunning, that's why. People who are trying to buy homes and the insurers they depend upon are already experiencing the fallout from the expiration of the program Sunday night:
WASHINGTON—Congress’ inability to renew the National Flood Insurance Program has potentially dire consequences, Federal flood agency management officials warned.

The NFIP was allowed to expire Sunday when a congressional appropriations bill that included the program was held up by Sen. Jim Bunning, R-Kentucky.

According to a memo written by officials of the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration/Risk Insurance Division, of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the interruption of the flood program means claims cannot be paid while it remains in legislative limbo.

A copy of the memo was obtained by National Underwriter. FEMA is part of the federal Department of Homeland Security.

According to the memo, home mortgage lenders will not be able to make loans or complete mortgage closings in areas that require flood insurance, specifically, “mortgage transactions on properties located in flood zones will stop,” the memo said.

Nice going, Senator.

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