FEMA changes course and relaunches flood insurance program

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New flood insurance policies may again be issued after the Federal Emergency Management Agency overturned the race Friday night, reversing Monday's decision to ban the sale of new policies during the closure of the government.

"Starting tonight, all the insurers of the PNIF were summoned to return immediately to their normal activities and indicated that the program would be considered operational since December 21, 2018, without interruption," said FEMA in a statement on the website of the agency.

NFIP refers to the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides flood-proofing policies to more than 5 million households across the country, including about 230,000 in New Jersey. NFIP is administered by FEMA.

The video above describes the operation of flood insurance.

A partial shutdown of the government began at midnight on December 21, after President Donald Trump and Congress failed to reach an agreement for the government to continue functioning. This should last at least until next week, when Democrats take control of the House of Representatives.

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FEMA's decision to reissue flood policies comes after the agency was criticized for suspending the flood insurance program.

FEMA announced Monday that it was suspending all sales of new flood policies – or the renewal of expired plans. The agency stated that, to the extent that it pays fees to insurance companies for writing policies backed by the National Flood Insurance Program, these fees can be considered an unacceptable closure of the government.

The suspension of the program meant that anyone looking to buy a house in a flood zone and needing flood insurance to obtain a mortgage could not close on the property if they had taken out a policy backed by the national housing program. Insurance against floods. FEMA also stated that it was not going to renew policies that became obsolete during the closure.

Private flood insurance remained available during the two-day suspension of FEMA's national flood insurance program.

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In New Jersey, about one in 15 homes receive flood insurance as part of the national program.

The average New Jersey insured pays about $ 1,000 a year in flood insurance premiums.

Watch the video above to see how the system is built.

The initial FEMA decision shocked and angered lawmakers who thought they had prevented any interruption of the national flood insurance program by adopting the December 21 law that extended the program until the end of the month. may.

The National Association of Realtors and the Mortgage Bankers Association also criticized the agency, saying the suspension of flood insurance sales threatened to severely disrupt the housing market across the country. The real estate agents' association estimated that 40,000 closures a month would have been affected.

Jean Mikle: 732-643-4050, @jeanmikle, jmikle@gannettnj.com