Flood Congress with “Reauthorize Flood Insurance” Message, Posted by Elizabeth

e_mendenhalll_headshotI’ve lived my whole life by the Missouri River in Columbia, Missouri. Whenever I return from out of town, I see the beautiful river, and I know I’m home.

In June, the Missouri River flooded causing residents in four states to run for cover. Today, 4,000 homeowners in North Dakota are grieving the loss and damage to their homes from the Souris River flooding.

Right now, Congress is debating whether to reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which expires on September 30th. Markets in many areas will come to a complete standstill unless this program gets reauthorized.

This is the tenth time in three years NFIP has been set to expire. NAR fully supports reauthorizing NFIP for five years. It’s time we stop the band-aid approach and give it a long-term extension.

We’ve posted a Call for Action on RealtorActionCenter.com telling Congress to act now to reauthorize this program before it expires. As you watch the footage of flooding victims on television and wonder how you can help, this is what you can do: Answer the Call to Action and flood members of Congress with letters on this issue.

North Dakota REALTOR® Greg Larson’s message about the floods affecting his property really hit home.

Do you know what happens every time the NFIP deadline nears? Lenders stall closings, adding more uncertainty to our already tentative marketplace. Maintaining available and affordable flood insurance for all Americans is vital to keeping the market running smoothly.

While many think flood insurance is just for beach property, 98 percent of homes covered by NFIP are actually inland. Check out some other myths and facts about flood insurance here. I think one of the most important points is that NFIP doesn’t spend taxpayer dollars. It actually makes money for the government by charging interest.

This is a nationwide issue, and it requires a nationwide response. Please take two minutes and answer the Call for Action. When you do, you’ll be standing up for consumers all over the country who need flood insurance to close on their American Dream. – Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2011 NAR Vice President and Liaison to Committees.

  1. If flood insurance is too risky for typical insurers to offer, perhaps people living in flood plains should self-insure rather than push their risk onto all the taxpayers via a federal government NFIP program. If that means they can’t afford to live there, maybe they shouldn’t live there. Heck, maybe no sane person should live there … but certainly not at my expense.

  2. Government does not belong in the flood insurance business. That business should be left up to private enterprise and those individuals who decide to live along the waterways.

    That’s how it to use be more than 30 years ago and our government was smaller, more efficient, and businesses and lenders took on those risks, not government.

  3. I Feel its very important to continue the flood insurance act,past 9/30/2011 the value of many properties depend on this.

  4. Jackie Heinen

    Reauthorize flood insurance. Without flood insurance many homes will be unsellable and this action will have further negitive impact on our suffering housing market.

  5. Sarah Young

    Please reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which expires on September 30th. It is extremely important that action is taken. Do the right thing for the people!

  6. Great very personal approach to the problems at hand with this issue.

  7. Too many people will be affected if Flood Insurance is not continued, No one can buy and nbo one can sell in Flood zones unless they have cash tpurchase outright. The stability of the housing market is on the brink as it is, is congress willing to give it a set of cement boots to kill it for good. What will be the punishment for crime of killing the housing market and the ecomony since they go hand and hand?

  8. Joyce Waard

    Please do not let the NFIP expire in Sept. This could happen to you!

  9. Brian Gordon

    I almost fell over in my chair as I read the NAR requesting we support NFIP. This is a scam of FEMA to generate money and should not be supported. Yes, people need flood insurance but not the system that is in place. Please don’t suppot another broken government system of wasteful spending.

    I have a home on 40 acres in Oklahoma that my grandfather purchased in 1946. The home, valued around $200K has a small mortgage on it. Without surveys or any actual investigations, FEMA used this NFIP to rezoned the whole county and claim every small creek or pond could potentially flood via notification to eveyone’s mortgage lender. In turn, everyone who has a mortgage on thier property now has gotten FORCE PLACED flood insurance at the price FEMA dictates. Scam. Scam. Scam. To top it off, my home sits on a hill and thier alleged flood map area only covers a small 5000 sq ft of raw land on one tiny corner of my 40 ACRE parcel. The “flood area” doesn’t even touch my home yet I’m forced to pay $365 per month additionally for flood insurance that I will never use or even could file a claim on. This is widespread throughout Washington County, OK as all my neighbors are dealing with the same exact issue. I support flood insurance for homeowners but please don’t support the NFIP until they change thier agenda to helping people that had a flood rather than screwing homeowners. Brian Gordon (brian_gordon@sbcglobal.net)

  10. Joyce

    The insurance companies didn’t mind taking our money for flood insurance when there was little cause for concern. Now there are flooding problems around the country, they no longer want to cover homeowners. Seems to me the insurance companies not offering flood insurance should be boycotted. They certainly do not deserve your automobile insurance coverage.

  11. Eric

    The government has no business being in the insurance business. If private insurers won’t insure its because the actuarial numbers says it can’t be done without losing money. i.e , people shouldn’t be building/living there. Why should I subsidize somebody living in an area subject to flooding?

    This is just another case of NAR ignoring whats good for the country and what makes sound economic sense solely to promote real estate. I am a Realtor but I know if my country goes down, real estate will go with it.

    This kind of initiative is exactly why the majority of Realtors were against the dues hike but the arrogant directors ignored the wishes of the people the supposedly represent.

  12. Connie

    I live on a small stream, and have for over 13 years. My house sits a good ways away from the stream. 3 Years ago Chase Mortgage Company required that I carry flood insurance, which I have through Farm Bureau. I have never had a problem with water before, and I love at 3300 feet elevation. This past May we had a flash flood and my basement had over 9 inches of water from a swelled small trout stream. 1st time this has ever happened since I lived there. You never know what danger you property can be in, until a flash flood comes your way.

  13. Frank

    It makes no sense to offer or require flood insurance in areas historically subject to periodic flooding. Why insure the barn that’s already on fire! What does make sense
    is to help the people who live in flood prone areas flood-safe their homes with government assistance by creating diversion apparatus including canals, dams,
    levies or other corrective measures which in some cases may mean relocating the homes and commercial buildings to higher ground. Many of the levies built years ago
    were improperly constructed and many of the rivers have been overcharged with water
    unable to permeate soil covered by man-made obstruction or inadequate and improper diversion – eg. . storm drains, paving , agricultural land contouring, etc. These are the
    matters NAR should be investigating and promoting, not Government Flood Insurance.

  14. Paula Rednour

    With the housing market the way it is,we, as realtors, need all lthe help we can get.
    Without flood insurance there will be no loans and without loans, home ownership will be a thing of the past

  15. John

    This program is full of thieves! You have to prove you are not in the flood plain at a very large expense. Myself and my several of my clients were forced into this program by very aggressive lenders after a refinance. I had a fema approved flood certification proving my structure was not in the flood plain. Their response was “you have to use our fema approved flood certification person”. You pay until you get a LOMAR map amendment which will require surveyors engineers all had to prove what I had in my hand from FEMA was in fact correct information for FEMA. This program should be set up so that if you use it once for a catastrophe the next time it only pays 60% and if you use it a third time it pays 25% and then it should not be allowed on the property period. Sorry but if you are not smart enough to not live in an area that floods every other year then don’t ask me to take my money and rebuild your home. If the free market will not provide you with insurance you can rest assured there is a good reason for this. Its called RISK, and I do not want to pay for your risk

  16. Tom & Lee

    Lender requires it, it is a must to have, Expensieve as it is, “we need it”! Only a fool would decline it. We have owned this home for over 13 years and during that period of time have made only one claim and that was when Opal came thru. The cost for coverage is astronomical, our cost is now, $4,800 per year(or $400 per month), quiet expensieve would you say, YES!!! But necessary, we complain about the cost but understand, if we did not have it, it could wipe the home completely out anytime and where would that leave us. We only owe $25K on it but its our, “401K”. Thank you for listing to us, we know you will do the right thing.

  17. Julie Strayer

    We do not need government imposing more requirements on us. We need personal responsibility. If you need insurance, buy it.

  18. Linda Taxpayer

    Flood insurance claims are paid with the taxes everyone pays. Why should the people that bought homes outside of the flood zone pay for the repair/remodeling of homes purchased in a flood zone? Assistance to relocate out of the flood zone would actually increase the activity in the housing market.

  19. Jeff

    Let’s stop relying on the government. What the NFIP is, is a government funded subsidy. Local areas may feel some of the effects if it’s cancelled, but 1) with it we are taking from some to give to others — in effect, stealing — and 2) we’re telling people it’s okay to build in floodplain. Finally, the more people who stay in such floodplains, the greater the disaster the next huge flood will be.

    Less government is far better for more Realtors than a subsidy here and a subsidy there. Let’s get our economy healthy by keeping the government out of it as much as possible. That would be the biggest boost we Realtors could get.

  20. Realtors need your help in extending the NFIP. We have enough obstacles to overcome during this economy. Unfortunately, a lender will not make the loan without flood insurance if the property is in a flood plain so it is definitely necessary.

  21. Bob Vasquez

    It’s always “interesting” to read comments by those who feel that government shouldn’t be involved in some activity (e.g., flood insurance) that they feel should be left to private enterprise. What would be “interesting” is to review their particular station in life and to see how and where government programs are assisting them to live in a manner that is safe and healthful. Yes, there are many areas where government services can be improved and I’m all for that, however, the attitude of just “shut it down” in my judgment is naive.

  22. E Myers

    Flood insurance should be paid by the homeowners whose personal choice is choosing to live in the flood areas not by home owners who don’t live in those flood areas. Over the recent years, I have observed these same rivers flooding out homes, families heading for higher ground and millions of dollars being spent to place the same families back into their homes. What I don’t see is a solution, such as building
    waterways to divert the flood waters to other areas in the US that would benefit from the floods. This would provide job opportunities and less government spending in the wrong way (making our tax dollars work for us) Our country can fly to outerspace (on our tax dollars), but cannot seem to take the iniiative to build a stronger nation by using our natural resources for a better good. MORE JOB OPPORTUNITIES CREATES HOMES AND BUSINESSES. not all of us can fly to outerspace.

  23. Geo. J. Donaldson Jr. CRB

    Elizabeth, I’m happy for you. You live where you are enjoying life. I do have a problem about the insurance program. If there is just one thing wrong with many items in this country, it is that we the people expect and sometimes demand way too much from governmental organizations. The government is way over its head because of the sperm to worm expectations for its citizens and from the illegals as well. If insurance is a good thing and for many folks it is, then they need to buy insurance directly from insurance companies. If that is not possible then those areas need to build structures to prevent or at least modify flood damage. Some land should not be used for residential and commercial development. Sounds very harsh I know. I would be OK with bonds authorizing the local or state governments buying up properties from those who can not or will not buy insurance from insurance companies. It’s a gamble you do not need to take.

  24. I just do not understand why the governement keeps on putting more and more obstacles on the Real Estate Industry. Don’t they just get it that the Real Estate Industry plays a big part in the improvment of the ECONOMY. More houses selling creates more jobs, improves neighborhoods, towns, cities micro-economy. More houses selling means that new home owners will start shopping for big and small ticket items and will get to start the ball rolling for the rest. Now it seems that it is common knowledge and I have a feeling that all those politicians and law makers have none. So we need those insurances and other matters in order, so we do not get the Real Estate Market go into another dip. What is going on? What’s going to be next?
    We need more involvements in preventing than fixing after it happens. We need better infrastrucures that would help to prevent desastrous situations. At the end of the day it will be more cost effective and will create a better way of life for everyone. I hope that makes sense? It does to me.

  25. Humberto Penaloza

    Realtors need your help in extending the NFIP. please do not create more obstacles to the real estate industry, we need to overcome this horrible economy, the NFIP must be extended for long period of time. Unfortunately, a lender will not make the loan without flood insurance if the property is in a flood plain so it is definitely necessary. it`s time to act.

  26. Please reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which expires on September 30th. It is extremely important that action is taken. Do the right thing for the people! – —Favor de reautorizar el National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) que expira en sept 30 !!!!

  27. Linda Smith

    Our government cannot afford its own existence. Cutbacks mean tightening ALL belts, not just the ones that do not affect you.
    IF you need assistance you should re-evaluate WHY. Remove the cause of the assistance, not search for someone else to burden.
    Rewarding bad behavior is our countries problem.
    Supporting a constant drain on our economy is the past.

  28. Tammy

    I live in a river town community in SW MN. Flooding is getting to be more of a problem every decade. Much of it comes from the tiling practices of the fields over the years. All of that water has to go some place. Individuals who have lived in their homes for many years are now being forced to move. The community has had to purchase some of those homes and businesses to relocated them or lose them as part of the flood mitigation. As a small rurual community, we can’t afford to lose any of our home owners or businesses and could not afford the flood mitigation costs without the governments help.

  29. Allen Sowers

    I live in Warren County Pa.

    A large share of our properties are on Streams and the Alleghany River. With the New Flood Maps there are more areas in the flood zone.

    The price of flood insurance is going out of site. and will affect the value of properties and financing.

    Remember, when water is designated to touch the bottom of your floor joices in the 500 year flood plain , you are in a flood plain for insurance purposes.

  30. Lyn Arnold

    I’ve lived in many parts of the country and have been amazed at the places that people decide to live, next to a creek, on or near the river, on or near the beach. I in no way feel obligated to cover their loss or provide insurance to these people that are willing to take such a chance. When the government gets involved they always make a mess of it!

    We all need to think about what is best for our country and not about what is best for our circumstrances!!

  31. Tina

    I truly think FEMA should be audited. My property is in an area of Los Angeles that isn’t near water, has good drainage and has “never” been in a flood. My flood insurance goes up all the time and is more than my regular property insurance. If we had a flood my out of pocket costs would be expensive. I think we should get rid of FEMA after a through audit and create a National Disaster Fund wherein Americans can (and will) donate in emergencies. Further what kind of salaries are being paid to administer FEMA? Based on what I pay per year calculating a small portion of our population, there are billions of dollars going to FEMA. With that kind of income, there should have been more preventive measures in place. If I build my home by a river and there is a dam, I should expect that it is structured to meet rising waters. If I build my home by a river where there is no DAM, I should expect consequences. Where there are tornados that create havoc, I should expect some type of relief, but I should not expect my fellow citizens to make me whole as before mother nature kicked in. ke Flood insurance should be voluntary. tr

  32. If the NFIP is capable of providing an effective flood insurance for homeowners, I hope this will continue. Otherwise, this should be revised or replaced by a more effective flood insurance program, whether government owned or private. It is undeniable that we need a working insurance program, especially with the effects of global warming and all the climate change.

  33. Thank you Elizabeth, and NAR for continuing to fight for the issues that matter. While I read some of the comments here and am amazed at some of the opinions, I can see their point, and wanted to share a position from an affected area, North Dakota.

    We live in an area that has had four 500 year flood events in the past four years. We now have the worst flooding on record, covering centuries, in both Bismarck and Minot, and in many cases, families are losing everything. While I appreciate and am just as frustrated that at many times the left and right hands of government (not meant in the political realm) don’t seem to know what they are doing, NFIP is one that, when needed, can mean the difference between losing your life’s work, or staying solvent.

    It used to be people thought flood insurance was for the coasts, but considering all that has happened through the middle part of our great country this year alone, it is my opinion that a government backed program that allows people some sort of backstop during a catastrophic loss is a critical need. Without it, only those with properties valued at over $1M, and with a significant amount of cash on hand can and will be underwritten by private insurance companies.

    It’s our role as REALTORS to help more in America than just that small piece, isn’t it? Therefore, we as REALTORS should support this effort, and keep working to the benefit of all homeowners, as in the end, their needs are more important than our opinions. However, we can use our combined voices to share those opinions and influence policy makers to help the home owners we serve to a greater good.

  34. Kate

    Flood insurance is just as important as standard homeowners insurance. I remember when the flood insurance was eliminated in the early 1980’s….homes were totally unsaleable! It created a total standstill for selling a home without it – no mortgage could be found. Lloyd’s of London also carries flood insurance, which is what I had on my property for many years, but I substituted it for NFIP when the cost was competitive again.

    If we can spend billions of dollars on other countries when disaster strikes and threats
    of war demand more billions, we certainly should be supporting our own lands, waters,
    and citizens!