The US Congress voted to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for seven days, preventing the program from expiring Friday.
The move pushes the NFIP’s extension to 7 December, tying it to a continuing resolution for funding the US government.
If the continuing resolution does not pass, the government could shut down and the NFIP would lapse.
The short-term extension should not dispel concerns about the future of the NFIP, said Nat Wienecke, senior vice president of federal government relations at the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
“This short duration is very concerning,” Wienecke said in a statement. “Consumers and businesses need a reliable program that provides long-term access to flood insurance.”
“A long-term reauthorization will provide consumers with the certainty of knowing their claims will be processed promptly,” he added.
Representative Tom MacArthur, a Republican from New Jersey, introduced the measure, which passed the House 350-46 and the Senate unanimously.
The Senate also passed a six-month reauthorization of the NFIP, sponsored by Republican Senator John Kennedy of Louisiana. The House will need to agree to the proposal for it to take effect.
The NFIP has lapsed twice before, once in 2017 and again earlier this year. It has been briefly extended seven times since its last long-term extension expired last year.
If the program were to lapse, existing NFIP policies would not be impacted, but homeowners would be unable to purchase new policies.