Congress Needs to Reform National Flood Insurance Program Following Expected Extension

WASHINGTON, D.C. — As Congress prepares to approve the 16th consecutive short-term extension of the National Flood Insurance Program as part of the Continuing Resolution, the National Wildlife Federation urged lawmakers to prioritize reforming the outdated program before the temporary renewal ends in September of 2021.

“Congress is rightly focused on keeping the government open and ensuring that no Americans see a lapse in their flood policies during this particularly active hurricane season. However, it is glaring that this Congress has once again punted on meaningful changes to the National Flood Insurance Program that would better protect communities,” said Jessie Ritter, director of water resources and coastal policy for the National Wildlife Federation. “If we’re serious about protecting Americans from climate-fueled hurricanes, storms and floods, Congress needs to reform the National Flood Insurance Program to prioritize improved mapping, floodplain management, and proactive mitigation, including through natural defenses — which benefit people and wildlife alike.”

The National Flood Insurance Program is a federally subsidized program, administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, that has three primary components: to provide flood insurance, to improve floodplain management and to develop maps of flood hazard areas. Critical reforms are needed to modernize the program and discourage future construction in flood prone areas, including improving flood map accuracy and flood risk disclosure; supporting insurance rates that reflect actual risk to homes and businesses while providing for means-tested assistance for those who cannot afford actuarial rates; and investing in and encouraging community-wide, nature-based mitigation.

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