Letter: It’s time to reform the National Flood Insurance Program

With Congress set to spend over $36 billion for the recent hurricanes and National Flood Insurance Program debt, it’s high time we take a look at current federal policies that allow flooding to be so costly and dangerous.

Not many people know, but one-third of all National Flood Insurance Program claims go to rebuild homes that have already been flooded before, a huge reason the program is in debt. Additionally, in many states people are buying homes without knowing the property’s flood risk. They are completely in the dark about whether they need to purchase flood insurance, whether the home has past flood damage, whether a claim has been made or even whether they are about to live in a floodplain! Add to this the fact that many communities have outdated flood maps and it becomes abundantly clear that we are ill prepared to address the increasing flooding our country is seeing in recent years.

In December, the U.S. Senate is set to vote on reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program – which means the opportunity to enact major reforms is still alive and well. Let’s hope that this time, instead of punting again, the Senate can actually pass the bill and include common sense reforms that make our communities better prepared for the next big storm.

Sam Milewsky, Rochester