For Immediate Release: April 18, 2018
Contact: William Gerlich, 212-390-8860
WASHINGTON, D.C. – SmartSafer.org, a national coalition of taxpayer advocates, environmental groups, insurance interests, housing organizations and mitigation advocates, today released the following statement in response to a new report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) entitled “An Affordability Framework for the National Flood Insurance Program.” The NFIP provides more than 5.2 million property owners with critical flood coverage, but expired last fall and is billions of dollars in debt.
“FEMA’s latest report makes clear that the NFIP must be reformed to improve its long term viability while ensuring low-income households have access to affordable flood coverage. For too long, the federal government has masked a homeowner’s flood risk by subsidizing everyone’s rates— regardless of income level. This unsustainable strategy has pushed the NFIP past the point of bankruptcy, which is why we support FEMA’s proposal to move away from subsidized premiums for everyone to a system that limits subsidies to those who need it most. But simply providing low-income homeowners with discounted flood insurance rates will not fully prepare them for a future of more frequent storms, so Congress must prioritize mitigation efforts for low-income individuals so they are better protected from future floods.
“To address these issues, we urge the Senate to build on the NFIP reform bill previously passed by the House, which invests in mitigation efforts and allows states to provide flood insurance subsidies to low-income individuals and provides consumer choice in the flood insurance marketplace. The Senate must also prioritize creating a level playing field for private sector competition to enter the flood insurance marketplace. According to a recent study by Milliman, this clarification of current law would allow a vast majority of Americans to potentially access more affordable flood insurance options— even those in who live in the most at-risk regions. With the NFIP set to expire on July 31, we urge the Senate to act quickly by advancing comprehensive reforms to ensure the program remains sustainable for years to come.”
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.
SmarterSafer previously released a policy proposal that outlines how Congress should comprehensively reform the National Flood Insurance Program. Click here to learn more.