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

Socioeconomic Effects of the National Flood Insurance Program is now available

I am happy to say my book, Socioeconomic Effects of the National Flood Insurance Program, is now for sale. It has actually been available for a few days on SpringerLink. But now you can purchase hardcopies from Amazon and other websites. From the sales copy: This Brief presents a benefit-cost analysis of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as well as an evaluation of its cumulative socioeconomic effects. Created by Congress in 1968, the NFIP provides flood insurance protection to property owners, in return for local government commitment to sound floodplain management. Since 1994, the NFIP has included a Flood

Flooding and Cost-Benefit Analysis in Manville, New Jersey

There’s a story from Manville, New Jersey, about flooding and cost-benefit analysis, and that’s my bag, baby. Here’s the story: Army Corps on Manville flooding: You’re on your own Residents outraged by decision not to take flood-control action FRANKLIN (Somerset) – Bob Kaminski is not happy about the recommendation by the Army Corps of Engineers that possible flood-control measures around Manville do not meet the federal government’s benefit-cost requirements. Long story short, The Army Corps of Engineers said no to flood protections for this small town because they don’t pass a cost-benefit test. Cost-benefit analysis was spearheaded in Federal decisionmaking

Don’t Cancel Flood Insurance due to Mitigation

The owner of an auto repair shop, whose shop sits on the Mill Creek floodplain in Delaware, has been flooded 32 times since 1989. Following completion of a flood abatement project by the Army Corps of Engineers, which will not eliminate, but lessen flooding, the owner cancelled his flood insurance policy. Here’s a video of the story: While we can question of the wisdom of staying after being flooded out 32 times in 26 years, dropping flood insurance is almost certainly a bad idea. And one we could see coming. People are less likely to purchase flood insurance if they

Whistling tunes we hide in the dunes by the seaside

It’s been another month and now there’s another study on the costs and benefits relating to flooding. This week’s entry is Oregon State’s Steven Dundas who writes on the costs and benefits of artificial dunes on the Jersey shore. Overall, Dundas shows these dunes provide a net benefit, especially by reducing net exposure of the NFIP. This is to be expected since natural barriers are known to reduce flood damage and can mitigate the risk. But that savings in exposure is compensated by a $1700 loss per house. That’s a problem because that has to be paid by either the

Social Benefits of Voluntary Buyouts Following Flooding

There’s a great article in Natural Hazards called “Flood recovery and property acquisition in Cedar Rapids, Iowa” by Eric Tate, Aaron Strong, Travis Kraus, and Haoyi Xiong, on the value of buying property in the floodplain to reduce long-term damages. The idea behind this is if a property is damaged by flood frequently, then maybe it should be put to a different use, likely greenspace. There’s a FEMA program for this that buys up so-called repetitive loss properties, those that are recurrent sources of NFIP claims, that pulls the property out of the market and returns it to a natural