Recent Changes to the National Flood Insurance Program: What can a planner do?

Date(s) - Dec 5, 2014
10:00 am - 11:30 am

Seventy years ago, efforts to control floodwater in the United States focused on structural projects such as dams, levees, and seawalls. This approach did not reduce flood losses and development continued in flood hazard areas. A broader strategy developed over time to include both the management of floodwater and damage-prone development. Established by the U.S. Congress in 1968, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides a general framework to mitigate future flood losses that communities must adopt and enforce as a condition for federally backed flood insurance protection. Mounting flood losses and recent catastrophic events, however, have bankrupted the NFIP. This financial instability led to the adoption of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act in 2012 (BW-12) to extend the NFIP for five years and make significant changes in insurance and mapping requirements. The insurance requirements were designed to make the NFIP self-supporting, but had significant unintended consequences. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 now repeals and modifies certain provisions of BW-12. This presentation will review some of these changes and outline steps that planners can take to mitigate present and future impacts of the new law. Planners are best trained to synthesize the multi-disciplinary nature of hazard mitigation planning and can be at the forefront of achieving reductions in losses to life and property as well as creating safer communities.

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