National Flood Insurance Program
Flooding in Key West during Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
The National Flood Insurance Program provides affordable flood insurance. Congress must reauthorize the federal program every 5 years. The current authorization expires September 30, 2017. Each reauthorization presents an opportunity for Congress to make changes (“reforms”) to the program, or even decide whether to continue the program.
Monroe County has made reauthorization of NFIP in a manner that protects the program’s affordability and accessibility to property owners a top federal legislative priority.
The last reauthorization of NFIP, in 2012, gave us the infamous “Biggert-Waters” reforms (BW), which raised premiums significantly and phased out coverage for many. We saw specific examples of premiums increasing 10x under the Biggert Water reforms.
Although BW passed in 2012, it was quickly repealed and replaced with the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (“HFIAA”) in 2014. This Act reversed the most harmful provisions of BW, and put in place a glide path for gradual premium increases. Notwithstanding HFIAA’s reprieve, policyholders will continue to absorb year-over-year premium increases with certain subsidized risk classifications exposed to continuous increases until premiums reach a rate NIFP determines to be actuarially-based.
If NFIP implements rate increases at the top of the glide path (18%), affordability will rapidly become a substantial concern. HFIAA also did not protect business property and second homes, which face 25% year-over-year premium increases.
It is critically important during the current reauthorization that we stay actively engaged in the legislative process, closely monitoring congressional activity and proposed legislative changes - and advocating for preserving affordable premiums and protecting the program.
Monroe is providing leadership to the Florida Association of Counties’ federal committee on NFIP, and working with FAC on outreach to the Florida delegation. Monroe County Commissioner Heather Carruthers presented a resolution to the FAC federal committee at the June FAC conference and secured its support and approval.
We are now taking that resolution to the National Association of Counties (NACO) to be heard at the national conference in July, for inclusion in their legislative platform. We are seeking to secure NACO’s advocacy for precisely the concerns we have around affordability, accessibility, strengthening the long-term sustainability of the program and mitigation funding.
We are currently working with U.S Rep. Carlos Curbelo to address concerns with proposed NFIP reauthorization legislation in the House and with U.S Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio to support the pending NFIP bills in the Senate.
Coastal communities are the nation’s hubs for energy productions, international trade, agricultural productions, defense activities and tourism, generating $6.6 trillion in economic activity and 46% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Coastal communities also are home to nearly 40% of all Americans. Affordable and sustainable flood insurance is an integral component of ensuring these communities continue their vital contributions to the United States.
2017 NFIP Reauthorization White Paper with Monroe and FAC position
2017 Top Concerns with House of Representatives NFIP Legislation
NOAA's National Coastal Population Report:1970 to 2020
2016 NFIP Overview and Importance - FAC and Monroe Presentation in D.C.
2016 NFIP Affordability and Program Stability Research
2013 Biggert Waters Flood Insurance Resolution
HR-3370 To Delay Certain Provisions for the Biggert Waters Insurance Reform Act
Economic Value of Resilient Coastal Communities
Federal Action Alert: Homeowner Flood insurance Affordability Act
National Association of Counties Biggert Waters and the National Flood Insurance Program Presentation