New Jersey Rep. Frank LoBiondo said last week he will “fight” a provision in President Donald Trump’s budget proposal that seeks to restructure selected user fees in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
The proposal aims to save $190 million by removing the discretionary appropriation for the NFIP’s Flood Hazard Mapping Program. Instead, the administration will “explore other more effective and fair means of funding flood mapping efforts.”
Currently, NFIP’s Flood Hazard Mapping Program is funded by both general taxpayer money through the annual Homeland Security Appropriations and a Federal Policy Fee on NFIP policyholder premiums, LoBiondo said.
The Republican lawmaker said the financial burden shifts “solely to the NFIP policyholder fees” if the discretionary appropriation is removed.
“The Administration’s budget proposal is but an initial offer in the annual appropriations process. I resoundingly reject this specific provision and will work closely and tirelessly with my colleagues representing coastal communities as the process of funding agencies and reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program moves forward.”
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The NFIP is up for reauthorization by September 30. A catastrophe policy group is calling for major reforms to the program, which is under billions of dollars in debt and is up for reauthorization in September.
Private sector participation, a complete shift toward risk-based rates, and more accurate mapping were among several recommendations of Smartsafer.org in a report meant for Congress.
The move to a system where the NFIP and the private sector write flood insurance will provide consumer choice and ensure competition and innovation, the coalition said. This can also maximize the number of properties covered by flood insurance.
The NFIP could turn more attention to most at-risk properties as more move to the private sectors, it added. “It is critical that mitigation and resiliency be elevated as part of NFIP’s mission, as well as through disaster assistance reforms,” Smartsafer.org said.
The U.S. experienced its highest number of floods in 2016 than any year on record since tracking began in 1980, global reinsurance firm Munich Re said. There were 19 floods across the nation, up from 15 in 2015.
Flood insurance program needs to change, says Congress
April 1 to bring changes to the NFIP