The National Flood Insurance Program was in the black until Hurricane Katrina; since then it’s been in debt to the tune of about $20 billion. (Which, of course, illustrates why it’s a government program and not offered by private insurers.)
So in 2012 Congress reformed the program to try to keep it from bleeding money.
For example, homes built before 1968 — when the NFIP started — were given lower, "grandfathered" rates. Those are going to be phased out. And homeowners living where the danger of flooding is so extreme that insurance is unaffordable were given subsidies to pay for it. (Yes, that’s correct. People living in the most-flood prone areas were given lower insurance rates.) Those subsidies are also going to be removed.
The result of these and other changes would be to increase the flood insurance premiums for homes that were, well, likely to be flooded. That would mean people couldn’t afford to insure their homes without government help.
Hearing the outcry from residents in those areas, Louisiana lawmakers are trying to get Congress to keep those rates from rising. They want to keep the subsidies for at least three more years.
They weren’t able to get that, but the House did pass a one-year delay on those premium hikes (it was tacked on to a Homeland Security bill); that now goes to the Senate (where it was tacked on to a farm bill).
So for at least another year, people living in areas likely to be flooded won’t see their flood insurance premiums increase — but the program won’t see it’s debt decrease.
One Louisiana resident explained how he understood that the NFIP needed to be fixed — but that it wasn’t right to ask the people who will be using it to bear the cost.
Click here for the full story in The Advocate.