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

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

California Flood Insurance Hurts Everyone

California is considering adopting its own flood insurance scheme, according to this news report: California Considers Ditching Federal Flood Insurance For State-Run Program SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – California is overpaying for flood insurance, according to a report from a UC Davis research group. And now the Department of Water Resources is considering a state-run flood insurance program that could save billions of dollars. “I was afraid to add it up. Apparently, California residents have paid more than $3B more into the program than those residents have received since the NFIP started. So the plan is to exit the NFIP statewide, and

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? ↩

FEMA’s Flood Maps Are Not a Scam

On May 3rd, this article ran in the Hamilton Journal-News. Hamilton fights federal government on flood hazard area AFFECTED PROPERTIES Most of the properties affected are west of where Two Mile Creek passes under Cleveland Avenue and east of Haverhill Drive. Long and short is, local business owner Mike Day was quoted as saying, “It just seems to be one more government-intrusive cost that I would have to end up paying because someone deems it necessary, that has probably never stepped foot on this street.” 1 The quote bothered me enough, that I posted it on Facebook leading to some

Flood Insurance Profits? Maybe Not

NPR has made a lot out of a report that insurance companies made $400 million in profit from flood insurance. This does not seem likely. When I wrote my text on flood insurance, I was unable to disaggregate profit numbers. Also, some of the figures given in the NPR report are simply incorrect. For instance, they show that 1/3 of premiums go to insurances companies. Insurance companies receive 15% to manage record keeping, sales, and claims processing. In addition, companies that sell well get up to 2% more, capping the amount insurance companies are paid at half of the 1/3rd