Flood Insurance and Climate Change

Matthew Sienkiewicz of Sabin Center for Climate Change Law has written a policy briefer on the link between climate change and flood insurance. He comes with three recommendations:

  • Mapping should be protected from political influence. It is essential that flood risk maps reflect actual flood risk and that risk estimates are not tempered by political considerations. Otherwise, premiums will not be sufficient to cover the amount the NFIP is required to pay those who experience floods.
  • Subsidies should be phased out. Since subsidies allow people to pay less than the amount required for the program to remain solvent, and because subsidized premiums encourage development in flood prone areas, subsidies must be phased out.
  • Climate Change should be explicitly considered. Climate change must be included in flood risk calculations by both officials and the public. Thus, extreme storm events and climate change projections should be included in the calculation of premiums.

Explicitly accounting for climate change in the flood hazard model will be difficult as long as states like North Carolina and Florida make it a policy to ignore climate change.

Image by: Don Becker / USGS.