The Problem with Offering Flood Insurance Subsidies

Flood insurance is always on point. I had a letter in The Columbia Flier on the value of mitigation vis-à-vis flood insurance subsidies in Ellicott City, Maryland. The letter does not seem to be in the online edition, so here it is. Also, why do newspaper editors like to turn every sentence into its own paragraph? In the July 20th edition, Michael W. Roth argued that the County should consider flood insurance subsidies for Ellicott City. (“Examine flood insurance subsidies for Ellicott City,” Letters) While I am sure Mr. Roth is well-intentioned, insurance subsidies would cause more problems than they

Ensuring Water Security

Water security is a complex issue with a lot of independently moving parts. While the earth’s surface is three-quarters water, almost all of that is ocean, unusable due to its salinity. There are limited freshwater resources available for everyday use, consumption by humans and human food products. Global climate change is slowing replenishment of fresh water supplies while there has been no let up in demand. In 2012, the United States created the U.S. Water Partnership (USWP) to help provide access to information about water and provide outlets for collaboration on water improvement projects. Of course, this is only a

The Flood Insurance Purchase Requirement

Here’s an interesting bit of flood insurance news. On May 24th, the Federal Reserve Board issued an order to SunTrust Bank for violations of the National Flood Insurance Act. The order itself does not provide a lot of detail, and I have no inside information, but I can only assume SunTrust was extending loans for property in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) without enforcing the flood insurance requirement, mandated by statute. This type of adjudicatory order is rather rare, but here are two examples from the Comptroller of the Currency, both from 2015: Amory Federal Savings & Loan Association

New Court Decision on Flood Insurance

Gary Woodson v. Allstate Insurance Company is an interesting new decision that just came out of the Fourth Circuit regarding flood insurance, which transfers full jurisdiction over claims relating to flood damage to the Federal courts, subject to the National Flood Insurance Act. This is quite big. Historically, insurance regulation is handled at the state level. Accordingly, there’s not a huge body of law at the Federal level on insurance. So claims relating to flood insurance, even when heard in Federal courts, are often guided by local state rules and regulations. As a result, each United States District has established

Implications of Coarse Data Allocation Methods for Flood Mitigation Analysis

I went looking for a copy of my working paper from the 2013 Joint Statistical Meetings and realized, it does not seem to be online. And neither does my poster! So I figured I should fix that. Here’s a link to the poster and the proceedings paper. The key idea here comes from my work on flood insurance and trying to understand the county-level effects of flood mitigation grants. Some grants are given to state agencies. In other words, the granularity of reality is insufficient for my goals. Normally, it’s just a data problem. So I investigated, briefly, four logical

Learn How to Manage a Basement Flood

Geoff Williams writes in the U.S. News and World Report about how to manage a basement flood and in this article, I talk about insurance, and how your basement can flood after a fire. Head over to U.S. News to read more.1 Also, Geoff wrote a book on the great flood of 1913, which affected huge swaths of the Eastern United States, including along the Miami River, where I grew up. His book, Washed Away, is available on Amazon. Image by Alec Perkins / Flickr. Why does U.S. News return 403 to some browsers, blocking embedded links? ↩