BlueDot senior adviser weighs in on impacts and costs of flooding
by BlueDot Strategies authored by Craig Fugate
This is an excerpt from an opinion piece by Craig Fugate, senior adviser to BlueDot Strategies and former FEMA Administrator to President Obama. The piece was featured in the Washington Times.
Congress has failed to update flood policy to meet the challenges of this new norm, instead choosing to continually extend its own deadline for reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides federally backed coverage for homeowners and small businesses in 22,000 communities nationwide.
The program, which is more than $20 billion in debt, is in dire need of reform. In its current form, the NFIP has failed in two of its goals — decreasing the costs from flood damage and improving the federal government’s management of flood risk — and without major improvements will continue to burn through taxpayer dollars while incentivizing policyholders to live in at-risk areas through subsidized premiums.
And yet, Congress has kicked this can down the road for the seventh time in less than a year.
This continued delay comes despite the fact that some in Congress are proposing fresh ideas for fixing the program. Pending bills would require sellers to disclose flood risk to homebuyers, require repeatedly flooded communities to develop localized plans to reduce risk, enhance mapping of risk areas, boost investments in resilience — for example, through a revolving loan fund — and engage private insurers, all viable strategies to keep people safer while decreasing the costs of disasters.
The failure of Congress to act on these proposals should be particularly concerning to the tens of millions of Americans who live in areas with a 26 percent chance of flooding during the life of a 30-year mortgage.