The destruction of Harvey and Irma have filled our news feeds over the past few weeks. Resources are being collected, relief efforts are being coordinated, crews are going to the places more impacted to offer aid, and individuals are opening their homes. According to the head of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), “early estimates show hurricane Harvey will result in about an $11 billion in payouts to insured homeowners, mostly in southeast Texas…” This would make Harvey the second costliest storm in the history of the NFIP program. The estimates are still pending for the amount of payouts that will be made for the damages done during Hurricane Irma.
According The Associated Press, the total number of federal flood insurance policies in force nationally dropped by about 10% over the last 5 years as a result of the premium increases that went into effect in 2012. As a result, many homeowners chose to drop their elected coverages in presumably “low-risk” flood zones that were not required to carry flood insurance by mortgage companies to save on annual premiums. As a result, it is estimated that 80% of people impacted by Harvey that sustained flooding damage to their homes did not carry flood insurance.
Roy E. Wright, FEMA’s associate administrator for insurance and mitigation concerning the disaster stated, “collectively, we….have to get beyond this conversation about what I ‘have to do’ and what ‘I’m mandated to do’