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USA - Agents Embrace Effort to Expand Private Flood Insurance

A life preserver of sorts will be available to homeowners submerged in the troubling waters of flooding, according to the National Association of Realtors— that is thanks to action the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) announced last week, related to the extended availability of additional private flood insurance options to U.S. consumers.

The FHA proposal would pave the way to the use of private insurance—as long as it meets the agency's definition, in conjunction with recent federal laws and pro-consumer industry practices. It’s a significant shift from current FHA regulations, established in 1999. Under those circumstances, homeowners with FHA-insured mortgages could only secure insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program.

"America's 1.4 million Realtors are grateful to see the FHA take steps to make more private flood insurance options available to U.S. consumers," said NAR President Vince Malta, broker at Malta & Co., Inc., in San Francisco. Outdated federal regulations have for too long prohibited lenders from accepting private flood insurance that is often more affordable and more comprehensive than NFIP policies. Although regulatory hurdles remain before this proposed rule is finalized, NAR looks forward to continuing our work alongside the FHA, HUD and President-elect Biden's administration to make private flood insurance more readily available to American property owners, Malta continued.

Malta sent a letter to HUD's Assistant Secretary for Housing, Dana Wade earlier this year, reinforcing the NAR's desire to see more private flood insurance options available in the marketplace.

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