As Congress wrangles with changes to the legislation meant to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), a program in deep debt, the USA Today Editorial Board published a succinct summary of why the NFIP needs reform.
Fixing the flood insurance program is vital for fiscal reasons. A government that is $17 trillion in debt can’t simply borrow more every time a significant storm hits.
That is not fair to young people and future generations. Nor is it fair to force taxpayers who live in Utah, or other states that are much less prone to flooding, to subsidize coastal residents. While other states are vulnerable to tornadoes or earthquakes that may require federal relief, these are typically nothing on the scale of the money pouring into coastal zones flooded repeatedly by hurricanes and tropical storms.
Reform also makes sense for environmental reasons. Below-market insurance premiums for flood insurance encourage people to build in ecologically fragile coastal zones while delaying the needed reckoning for what changes will be needed to cope with rising sea levels.
The law as it stands would have a relatively modest effect on 80% of the 5.5 million homes and businesses with flood coverage. Most of them pay rates of about $300 a year for each $100,000 of coverage and would see gradual increases in future years.
The editorial underscores the importance of flood risk management for commercial and residential property owners, especially those in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) designated high-risk flood zones. For more information, including a complimentary flood risk evaluation, which verifies whether the property’s actual risk is commensurate with the level of coverage, contact us.