Today began with a 7:30 briefing call hosted by the Coalition for Sustainable Flood Insurance, of which United Policyholders is a member. This “can-do” coalition seeks to make flood insurance affordable and available through the National Flood Insurance Program. They are aware of parallel efforts to bring flood coverage back into home policies and stimulate the growth of a private flood insurance market. But their current focus is on improving the NFIP so it can be a more financially viable “take all comers” source of financial protection for homeowners who want to protect their assets against the risk of flood damage. We need that in the here and now. The NFIP’s authorization expires at the end of September 2017, so this morning’s call kicked off what promises to be lots o’ action in the coming year. Let’s hear it for the problem solvers!
CSFI is based in Louisiana where citizens have really suffered due to flood damage and related insurance problems. They were largely behind the 2014 “Homeowners Insurance Affordability Act” federal legislation that ratcheted back portions of the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act in order to slow down extreme flood insurance rate increases. Their most recent White Paper is a good primer on the competing interests at stake and the national imperative to craft better solutions for financing flood recovery.
UP remains focused on helping policyholders make good decisions on protecting their homes against the risk of flood damage. It’s easy to tell people in a flood zone “you must buy flood insurance” – but if they truly can’t afford to – they don’t deserve to lose their homes just because they can’t pay for the flood insurance their lender is requiring. There has to be a better solution.
One small (relatively speaking) step Congress can take in the here and now to help current and future flood victims: Forgive the National Flood Insurance Program’s debt (see below) Why? Because the debt has led insurance adjusters to underestimate and underpay flood claims, and because the program needs to be restructured anyway.