So it’s time to talk about flood insurance cancellation again. Again. Again.
Authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program is set to expire on July 31. This happens every couple of years, but the program continues to be necessary to manage short-term risk of flooding, especially in the middle of the hurricane season.
Louisiana residents whose flood insurance policies expire at the end of July are getting letters from FEMA to remind them of the importance of coverage. The note is headed: “Your flood insurance policy is about to expire. Renew today.” It goes on with this warning: “Did you know flooding is the most common natural disaster in the United States?
The real problem is that Congress seems unwilling to actually reauthorize the program, mostly because it is too expensive. On the other hand, Congress is unwilling to introduce the reforms necessary to rein in costs of the program and ensure that it can be successful over the long term.
The Insurance Journal blog has a great summary of the current state of affairs with the NFIP, including tracking of several reauthorization measures.
The National Flood Insurance Program has paid about $8.6 billion in claims from Hurricane Harvey and projects all claims from the three 2017 hurricanes to total about $9.7 billion, according to a new report compiled by the Congressional Research Service.
But none of these measures seem set to be a real solution. The closest to a long-term solution is a standalone six-month reauthorization. Congress cannot keep kicking the can down the road without a plan for real reform.