On Friday, December 21, 2018, President Donald Trump signed into law a measure reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program until May 31, 2019. The flood program was set to expire at midnight on Dec. 21.

However, the partial federal government shutdown that went into effect on Dec. 22 could affect the NFIP’s operations until full staffing and government operations are restored.

Staffers in the office of Sen. John Kennedy, (R, La.), sponsor of the NFIP extension, believe the extension approved by Congress and Trump should avoid disruptions to the flood insurance program through the shutdown, although Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has not confirmed that.

Based on the government’s response to previous shutdowns, payment of current claims by the National Flood Insurance Program will continue; however, in past shutdowns the NFIP as stopped issuing new and renewing existing flood policies. FEMA has responded to a request for clarification.

Also, based on past shutdowns, FEMA, part of the Department of Homeland Security, is expected to continue any disaster efforts it has underway. If there is a major disaster where states needed assistance, FEMA could be called on for help.

It is not clear how long the partial shutdown will be. Congress has adjourned until after Christmas.

Read more in the Insurance Journal.