FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: William Gerlich, 212-390-8860
WASHINGTON, D.C. — SmarterSafer.org, a national coaltion of taxpayer advocates, environmental groups, insurance interests, housing organizations and mitigation advocates, released the following statement today after the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) submitted a $1.042 billion claim to private reinsurers of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help pay for losses from Hurricane Harvey. The NFIP provides flood coverage to more than 5.2 million property owners across the country but is set to expire tomorrow.
“The nation’s debt-ridden flood insurance program left taxpayers on the hook to fund billions of dollars in recovery costs after Hurricane Harvey wreaked havoc on the Gulf Coast. Fortunately, FEMA’s recent reinsurance investment has helped reduce the NFIP’s mounting debt by shifting some of the program’s risk from taxpayers to the private sector—saving taxpayers nearly $850 million this year alone.
“A recent analysis by the Reinsurance Association of America found that Congress can save the NFIP billions of taxpayer dollars and improve its long-term financial strength by allowing more private sector insurers to enter the flood insurance marketplace. With lawmakers planning to pass a second short-term extension to the NFIP this week, we urge Congress to use this time to advance meaningful reforms that encourage private sector competition and reduce America’s dependence on the broken federal program.”
SmarterSafer previously released a policy proposal that outlines how Congress should comprehensively reform the National Flood Insurance Program before it expires. Click here to learn more.
SmarterSafer.org is a national coalition that is made up of a diverse chorus of voices united in favor of environmentally responsible, fiscally sound approaches to natural catastrophe policy that promote public safety. The coalition believes that the federal government has a role in encouraging and helping homeowners to undertake mitigation efforts to safeguard their homes against natural disasters. At the same time, the coalition opposes measures that put people’s lives at risk at the expense of taxpayers. Measures such as subsidizing artificially low rates for homeowners’ insurance policies help to encourage construction in environmentally sensitive and unsafe areas. The coalition is working to ensure that Congress does not incentivize people to live in harm’s way in places prone to hurricanes and floods.