Op-ed by Amy Foresdter Roberti, ICBA, ScotsManGuide, Nov. 1, 2018
Fifty years ago, Congress created the National Flood Insurance Program in the aftermath of Hurricane Betsy, a monster storm that killed 76 people and flooded more than 164,000 homes in New Orleans. Since then, the program has provided flood insurance to homeowners and businesses where a private market did not exist.
The program is broken, however. It’s in debt, and there doesn’t seem to be any help on the way. Congress needs to make a long-term fix. Doing so will not only protect covered properties in flood-prone areas, but will help stabilize a market for mortgage originators and others in the real estate industry.
The goal of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is to reduce rising emergency disaster-relief payouts, map the flood risk of the entire country and cut down the risk of floods by working with communities on proactive flood-plain management.
Until 2005, the NFIP was largely self-sustaining, but Hurricane Katrina and a series of other hurricanes and storms have left the program nearly $20.5 billion in debt, and that’s before Hurricane Florence hit the Carolinas.