Tennessean: U.S. Senate votes to extend flood insurance program

Homeowners, businesses get access to aid

Posted on July 2, 2010

WASHINGTON — An extension of the federal flood insurance program meant quick relief for some homeowners and business owners who had been struggling to get mortgages or Small Business Administration loans without proof of insurance.

The program, which expired shortly after Tennessee's devastating flood, was extended for three months Wednesday night, opening the door for many property owners to get other types of assistance.

Whitney McFalls, who lives in the Charlotte Park area of Nashville, said she had been approved for a $14,000 SBA loan, but her lack of flood insurance was holding the money up.

"Everything hinged on that," McFalls said. "Nothing was going to go forward without that."

  • The $14,000 was deposited in McFalls' bank account by midday Thursday. She said she would use the money to repair her den and replace some of the contents of her garage.

    "I'm really surprised it took this long," she said.

    The Senate approved the extension through Sept. 30 unanimously, without a recorded vote. The House approved it last week. Authority for the program expired on June 1, and a previous effort to extend it had failed.

    The suspension of the program did not affect existing insurance policies but prevented new policies from being written.

    "This is good news for Tennessean homeowners and small-business owners who are struggling to put their lives back together after the May flood," Sen. Lamar Alexander said.

    "Tennesseans, who are recovering from the worst natural disaster since President Obama took office and have been waiting for a month for Congress to act, will now be able to get flood insurance as a result of this bill, which means they can get their loans and open their businesses again."

    Gannett News Service contributed to this story. Contact Michael Cass at 615-259-8838 or mcass@tennessean.com.