Congress fails to reauthorize federal flood insurance

(WFLX) - If you have a federal flood insurance policy, technically, you no longer have coverage -- at least not right now.

Congress has failed to reauthorize the flood insurance program, and it expired Sunday night. That leaves some local people uneasy, given our area's past experiences with flooding. "We had a storm yesterday [Monday] that was really bad," pointed out Barry Consovoy, president of HRT Realty Services in Boca Raton.

Consovoy's company manages properties throughout South Florida. "If some areas flooded, we would not have coverage," said Consovoy.

Congressional leaders say flood insurance is their top number when they return from their two week break. They also promise the legislation will be retroactive and many people will have coverage for any flooding that might occur in the lapse period. "Most people who have a policy in effect, their coverage won't be affected," stated Brendan Lynch of the Plastridge Insurance Agency in Palm Beach Gardens. The big impact is on people who want to buy or sell in a flood zone.

"I'm closing on a sale tomorrow [Wednesday], and don't have flood insurance for the property," explained Consovoy, referring to a property he manages. "It's creating a problem for the lender to allow this closing to go through."

Lynch commented, "It's sort of ironic on one side, the government is pushing programs to give people incentives to purchase new homes." Allowing flood insurance to lapse does just the opposite, even if for only a couple of weeks.

Lynch says if the lapse should persist, lenders might buy flood coverage on their own and bill property owners.That coverage could be more than three times as expensive as the federal flood insurance.

Congress returns from break April 12.