Scientists Press for Higher Flood Ins. Rates to Get Action

A significant new report was just issued by the Union of Concerned Scientists; it is titled Overwhelming Risk; Rethinking Flood Insurance in a World of Rising Seas. Both the full report (30 pp.) and an executive summary are available for download on that site.

This document is worth keeping as a basic primer on coastal flooding, floodplain management, and flood insurance.  The authors are quite blunt about the risk, as you will see from these excerpts from a Congressional Quarterly article, titled Scientists Call for Higher Federal Flood Insurance Rates:

A group of scientists joined the ranks this week of those opposing congressional efforts to continue subsidizing coverage under the federally run flood insurance program. In a 30-page report (PDF), the Union of Concerned Scientists laid out data on the global rise of sea levels and the increasing frequency of catastrophic storms.

Americans are unlikely to prepare for the kind of flooding that lies ahead, the organization warned, if the Federal Emergency Management Agency does not start charging higher rates for flood insurance.

“We urgently need to reform our insurance system so that it can help us manage these risks effectively, even as we invest in measures to slow global warming and sea level rise and prepare for their impacts,” the report said. “Reforming our insurance system to reflect this growing exposure can help communicate the true risks to coastal communities so they are motivated to take protective steps.”

Congress enacted just such an overhaul of the National Flood Insurance Program last summer, signing off on language that required FEMA to raise premium rates to reflect each property’s actual risk of flooding and to remap areas that are at higher risk than before. In recent months, though, lawmakers from coastal states have been trying to delay those rate increases by adding amendments to various bills on the move this session and introducing stand-alone

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