August 1, 2018, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”) will expire on July 31, 2018, unless it’s reauthorized by Congress in the next few days.
FEMA’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan1 includes three goals, focused on their “FEMA Vision – a prepared and resilient Nation.”
Strategic Goal 1: Build a Culture of Preparedness
Strategic Goal 2: Ready the Nation for Catastrophic Disasters
Strategic Goal 3: Reduce the Complexity of FEMA
At the National Flood Conference last month in Washington, D.C., several speakers, including those from FEMA, discussed two of FEMA’s goals, which they refer to as “moonshots,” that are part of building a culture of preparedness.
The first moonshot is to create a culture of preparedness by doubling the number of properties covered by flood insurance by 2022.
One way to do this is by educating consumers that flood is a catastrophe that can affect every geographic area. According to FEMA, approximately 25.8 million people were affected by Harvey, Irma, and Maria in 2017. That is 8% of the U.S. population. One speaker at the conference was Florida’s Insurance Commissioner David Altmaier. He shared a frightening statistic: Before Irma struck, only 41% of properties within flood hazard zones had flood insurance. This means that 59% were not covered by flood insurance.
The second moonshot is to increase investment in mitigation (quadruple mitigation spending) by 2022. Mitigation means strengthening building and infrastructure to better withstand a storm.
To accomplish this, FEMA has launched a new Resilience organization, “FEMA Resilience,” which will be focused on building the nation’s resilience to prepare for future disasters. It is led by FEMA Deputy Administrator for Resilience Dr. Daniel Kaniewski and FEMA Associate Administrator for Resilience, Carlos J. Castillo, and includes the Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration, Grant Programs Directorate, National Continuity Programs, and National Preparedness Directorate. The organization’s goal is to “build a culture of preparedness through insurance, mitigation, continuity, preparedness programs and grants.”
As we are in the midst of the Atlantic hurricane season, U.S. Citizens are carefully watching what will happen in the next few days with the expiration of the NFIP. The NFIP provides hundreds of thousands of dollars of flood insurance coverage where required for a federally backed mortgage in 22,000 communities nationwide.