Urge representatives to reform flood insurance program

Article By Steve Ellis, Taxpayers for Common Sense, Letter to the Editor

Photo By Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register

The Nov. 7 editorial “All Iowans should have flood insurance option” highlighted the need for more Iowans to obtain flood coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. But unless Congress reforms the program, which is $23 billion in debt and at the point of insolvency, Iowans with or without coverage may be unable to rebuild after the next storm strikes.

Thousands of property owners in Iowa depend on the NFIP for insurance because it is essentially their only choice. However, 108 Iowa communities do not participate in the program, leaving those residents without a single valid option.

With extreme weather on the rise, changes must be made to give all Iowans alternative options to the NFIP while ensuring the program’s financial sustainability.

To do that, Congress should inject more private insurers into the flood insurance marketplace, which would provide more choices, better rates and higher coverage limits.  A move toward more risk-based insurance rates and incentivized mitigation efforts would also help shore up the NFIP’s balance sheet.

With the NFIP up for reauthorization in 2017, Iowans should urge their representatives to prioritize these reforms so they are able to fully recover after the next major flood.

Steve Ellis is vice president of Taxpayers for Common Sense and a member of the SmarterSafer coalition, which advocates on natural-catastrophe policy.

To view the original letter to the editor published on The Des Moines Register, click HERE.