Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Condensed Version of NFIP Reform

The National Flood Insurance Program [NFIP] apparently is going to have statutory changes this year. It is almost never amended substantively in any election year reflecting the fact that it is a program that favors those who have property in the flood plain and want insurance to cover that proeprty preferably subsidized by the taxpayer.

The reform movement is driven by claims payments during Hurricane Katrina and in particular the area in and around NOLA {New Orleans/Orleans Parish]. The driver is that no one knows what NFIP costs will be over the next 40 years and whether the last 40 since it started in 1969 is prologue. The period of record is just too short to determine probability.

So after suggesting over 25 "reform" items to the program manager I have resolved to condense that list into a single item. It may seem a simple or even minor change but believe me it would have huge repercussions for the entirety of the NFIP including the mapping effort.

Here is the suggestion: NO NFIP INSURANCE FOR ANY AREA NOT ALREADY OR TO BE DESIGNATED THE FLOOD PLAIN FOR THE 1% ANNUAL OCCURRENCE FLOOD [the so-called 100-year flood] that are depicted as "V" and "A" zones on the NFIP maps. I have written several members of Congress and there is some interest in this change. I did point out that total elimination of the NFIP would drastically increase "free" disaster outlays and destroy mitigation efforts nationally.

So I will let readers mull over the impacts of this suggested change and its costs and benefits and political liklihood of success. Looking forwards to the analysis of many others!