When Flood Insurance is the Problem

Thanks to R. Dale of Skywatch for calling this article to my attention. He noted it in a comment to an earlier post, but I think it warrants space of its own.

See: Oceans of trouble for U.S. taxpayers; New England homes repeatedly and severely hit by the sea

Be sure to read the comments for some additional detail re flood insurance.

3 thoughts on “When Flood Insurance is the Problem

  1. This article is not just some piece on somebody’s blog. It was on the front page, above the fold, of the Sunday Boston Globe today March 9, 2014. [ http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/health-wellness/2014/03/09/sea-level-rose-government-paid-nine-flood-claims-scituate-home/P9PvgncnRm3pjdQYt8mxuK/story.html ]

    It is possibly worth noting that homes in this area have been damaged on multiple occasions prior to advent the NFIP.

    In 1978, this area was also the very first place where there was documented enforcement of the substantial damage/substantial improvement requirements of the NFIP. This enforcement also involved the very first calculations of wave height by a federal agency, HUD, which in those days managed both disaster assistance and the NFIP. The wave height calculation was made to assist the State and local governments in their recovery efforts, and enforced through the State Wetlands Protection Act through both local Conservation commission and State agency action, with substantial federal technical assistance.

    This successful, documented, substantial damage enforcement was used by a member of Massachusetts Congressional delegation to save that provision of the NFIP regulations, when it was slated for elimination during the Carter Administration efforts for regulatory reform.

    Several properties in this area were purchased by the federal government under the former Section 1362 of the NFIP, and turned over to the State to be held forever open.

    This article clearly points out the difficulties involved in development in hazardous locations. It does miss the reality that solutions to these problems must involve review and consideration of the entire system involved in development decisions; and the systems involved in disaster relief in the US. I am working on a white paper on this topic and can share the somewhat fragmentary outline.

    As a society we need to broaden our focus, as we seek solutions, well beyond the Flood Insurance Program.
    Ed Thomas

    • Thanks for writing.

      I know that revised legislation for the NFIP is pending in Congress. I think we need to hear a lot more about flood insurance issues in the coming months.

      • Solutions to our current enormous and growing National and Worldwide problem of too much poorly planned, engineered, designed and constructed development in areas prone to natural hazards can only come from making a holistic examination of the issues with both the entire system of development decision-making and system of disaster relief. We must devise a multidisciplinary “Whole Community” approaches to a series of solutions to systematic problems.

        Focusing only on the NFIP, a small sliver of the symptoms of a much larger problem, as opposed to taking a clear view of the system which is producing undesirable results cannot produce good public policy.

        Use of funds which would otherwise be used to support disaster relief gifts would be one way to fund this. Other funding mechanisms could be developed as outlined in a paper which proposed funding improvements to our Nation’s infrastructure through reallocation of tax subsidies could also be considered as a funding source. See, Thomas, E.A. A Perfect Storm of Opportunities to Establish and Fund a Program to Reduce Misery and Protect Water Resources, in Louisiana Coastal Law, Vol. 89, April 2008

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