In case you missed the news, funding for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) which was set to expire on October 31, 2009, has been extended once again by Congress until December 18, 2009. This is the latest in a series of temporary extensions for the program approved by the House and Senate as part of an appropriations bill for the Department of the Interior. An overhaul of the 41-year-old program is currently taking a back seat to healthcare reform and other major legislation on Capitol Hill. Ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2005, there has been debate over how to improve the NFIP. Significant property damage caused by storm surge from Hurricane Ike in 2008, has fuelled that debate. Flooding related to hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma in 2005 led to loss payments of $17.6 billion under the program. At the end of 2008, the NFIP had some 5.7 million policies in force and losses paid by the program totaled $2.6 billion that year. The average premium for an annual flood insurance policy is around $542, yet a 2008 poll by the I.I.I. found that only 17 percent of Americans have a flood insurance policy. FloodÃ‚ damageÃ‚ is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Check out I.I.I. information on flood insurance.