Today, U.S. Representatives Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) introduced H.R. 6196, the Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act. The bill aims to mitigate the financial resources expended by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and taxpayers on claims for properties flooded multiple times:
“It’s said that insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, yet when it comes to the NFIP and properties that flood repeatedly, that's what we do. One NFIP-insured home valued at $69,000 flooded 34 times in 32 years and racked up $663,000 in claims; it's time to stop the madness for policyholders and taxpayers who subsidize this cycle," said Rep. Royce.
“Repetitive flood loss continues to place communities and families at risk, while shortchanging the federal taxpayer and all those who pay flood insurance premiums,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “The good news is that even as the challenges mount, we know what to do. This legislation focuses on engaging communities in simple, self-help solutions that will make them safer, save them money, and ultimately, lead to the stabilization of the National Flood Insurance Program.”
As of January 2016, there were more than 150,000 structures around the country classified as “Repetitive Loss Properties" (RLPs) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). FEMA estimates that these properties comprise just one percent of those insured by the NFIP, but represent 25 to 30 percent of all flood claims. The NFIP is more than $23 billion in debt to the U.S. Treasury and according to a 2009 report by FEMA’s Inspector General, the number of RLPs increases by nearly 5,000 each year. From 1978 through 2011, RLP losses added up to more than $12 billion— or approximately half of the NFIP’s debt.
The Repeatedly Flooded Communities Preparation Act requires communities with a significant number of RLP to:
- Map repeatedly flooded properties and public infrastructure to determine the specific areas that should be priorities for voluntary buyouts, drainage improvements, or other mitigation efforts.
- Develop and implement plans for mitigating flood risk in these problem areas.
- Submit these plans as well as reports on progress to FEMA, an organization that is under the purview of Congressional oversight.
A summary of the bill can be viewed here.
For more information, contact:
Saat Alety (Royce) at Saat.Alety@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-4111.
Nicole L'Esperance (Blumenauer) at Nicole.LEsperance@mail.house.gov or (202) 225-4811.