A man paddles a kayak near a flooded home along the Alafia River Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017, in Lithia, Fla. A storm surge from Hurricane Irma pushed water into the low lying area. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma has turned the nation’s eyes and ears toward flood insurance. Though the catastrophic damage caused by the record flooding in Houston is tragic, the timing is ripe as Congress must address reauthorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in one way or another by Sept. 30.

Unfortunately, before Harvey, the reauthorization had fallen victim to political arm wrestling and permanently reauthorizing the program by the deadline seemed unlikely. A failure to reauthorize the NFIP could create a lapse in the program. In that case, homeowners, home buyers, realtors, lenders and insurance producers selling policies through the NFIP would have to rely solely on a much-abused private market for primary flood insurance coverage. Hopefully, Harvey’s wrath, as well as Irma’s only two weeks later, has left an indelible impression on lawmakers — leaving them poised to make meaningful reforms that will encourage private market competition for flood risk.

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