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” Flooding in the United States has cost over $1 trillion dollars since 1980″.  – NOAA

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How do we proactively spend the next trillion dollars to save our communities from future flooding?

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First we have to justify why we should spend money BEFORE communities flood.  It is a wide known fact that Every $1 Invested in Disaster Mitigation Saves $6. – Pew Research

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Second Congress has scarcely funded a plan to prevent future flooding. Since the 1970’s Congress basically throws money at flooded communities to rebuild and does not aggressively try to stop future flooding.  Some of the communities flood regularly.  This vicious cycle of Repetitive Loss and Severe Repetitive Loss properties accounts for billions in needles spending and rebuilding. 

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An example is of a home in Humble, Texas that is worth $116,000 and has received over $2,000,000 in flood claims from repetitive flooding.  (See pics below for this and additional examples).  This is unfair for the property owner and the financial burden put on the NFIP program.  Properties like this make all NFIP policies cost significantly more.  Less than 1% of these properties accounts for over 12 Billion Dollars in claims.

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We need to take a good portion of the next Trillion dollars, we will be spending for flood damage, and proactively spend it on elevating homes, buyouts and community mitigation projects for homes to get out of  harms way.  Imagine government spending funds that will result in a 600% rate of return.  Wall street would be in envy of the our governments return.

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We also need to lower the amount the Federal government pays when there are floods.  Currently the federal government pays for 75% of recovery costs.  This should get lowered to 50%.  It will encourage local communities to build smarter in the future.  It will also tighten new building standards which will stop pushing flood waters to downstream communities.  One of the alarming trends we have seen is inland flooding from over development and lack of flood plain management.

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Another issue that should be addressed is the 40% of homes that are situated in a SFHA flood zone, they have a federally backed mortgage and are required to purchase flood insurance, that do not carry flood insurance.  The fines have been increased to $3,000 per incident for banks not complying with this mandate.  The Federal government must make the banks comply or fine them.  Also the federal government should encourage insurance companies to “find” these properties and “force place” flood insurance on these properties.

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The FEMA/NFIP needs to encourage the CRS (Community Rating System)program to be adopted to more communities.  Enforcement of violations, like here in Charleston, must be enforced.  When homeowners are forced to pay more in flood insurance premiums because their zoning rules and enforcement encourage future flooding, they will pressure their locally elected officials to tighten their standards.  FEMA and the NFIP are not aggressively enforcing violations of the CRS program.  On many occasions Senators and Congressmen pressure the FEMA/NFIP to relax CRS standards.  Whatever the cause.  We need aggressive enforcement of the CRS program, otherwise it does not encourage less flooding.

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Lastly 80% of all homes that flood, and receive federal aid, do not carry flood insurance.   This encourages homeowners to not carry flood insurance if the federal government is just going to pay for the repairs.  There should be an “Opt-Out” flood insurance waiver that should be signed on a homeowners policy.  The “Opt-Out” form should state “By opting out of purchasing flood insurance you will not be entitled to Federal Disaster Aid in the future.

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By undertaking these measures we can rely less on the federal government and more on ourselves.

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Please join the conversation at www.facebook.com/groups/stopfemanownj or www.StopFemaNow.com

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