Hurricane Florence displaced thousands of homeowners and destroyed entire cities along the Atlantic Coast. But because of outdated policies, most consumers who were forced to flee their homes will be unable to use flood insurance to recover and rebuild their property. In the absence of a major flood reform bill, this exact scenario will play out after the next storm, and the one after that.
For decades, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has offered a one-size-fits-all approach to coverage for flood damages. This approach is grossly problematic, as property values and risk factors for flooding vary widely across the country. Yet, the NFIP, with over $20 billion in debt prior to Florence, distributes the same premiums to expensive coastal properties in the riskiest areas as low-risk inland residences located outside of floodplains. The NFIP must update its flood maps and issue risk-based rates – something the government has thus far been unwilling to do.
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