The Latest: FEMA reverses course on flood insurance decision
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Latest on the National Flood Insurance Program (all times local):
The Federal Emergency Management Agency has reversed course and will go back to issuing and renewing National Flood Insurance Program policies, despite the ongoing government shutdown.
FEMA announced the change of policy in a statement Friday, much to the relief of Louisiana homeowners and politicians.
In a statement, U.S. Sen. Bill Cassidy said FEMA had erred when it told insurers earlier this week that it said it cannot issue or renew NFIP policies during a partial government shutdown.
The decision had caused numerous home sales to be delayed because buyers weren’t able to obtain flood coverage.
Cassidy says he is “glad they are correcting it so home sales in limbo can proceed.”
Gov. John Bel Edwards tweeted that FEMA’s new decision was “welcome news.”
The Federal Emergency Management Agency told insurers it cannot issue or renew National Flood Insurance Program policies during a partial government shutdown, upsetting members of the Louisiana delegation who were key in getting NFIP coverage extended into 2019.
News outlets report the agency informed insurers Wednesday. FEMA says it will continue to pay NFIP claims through the shutdown. It says it halted flood insurance funding because commission payments to private companies that issue the policies could be seen as an “impermissible funding obligation” during the shutdown.
More than 500,000 Louisiana homeowners currently depend on NFIP flood protection. Roughly 40,000 of those policies are up for renewal each month. That means homeowners whose policies expire during the shutdown won’t be able to renew through the NFIP and the policies will become void after a 30-day grace period.