The federal government’s flood insurance system has been saddled with billions of dollars in debt since Superstorm Sandy devastated the region four years ago. Unless Congress overhauls the program, more than 180,000 at-risk New Yorkers could find it bankrupt when the next storm strikes.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which administers flood insurance to property owners in more than 22,000 communities nationwide, has a $23 billion debt that is only going to grow. With the FEMA-run insurance program up for reauthorization next year, lawmakers should fix it before taxpayers have to bail it out.
Congress can start by taking steps to inject more private insurers into the flood insurance marketplace, which would move risks and costs from taxpayers to private capital markets.