Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 1968 to reduce flood damages nationwide and ease the Federal government’s financial burden for providing disaster recovery. Today, approximately 22,000 communities in all 50 states and U.S. territories participate in the NFIP. The program has 5.1 million flood insurance policies providing $1.3 trillion in coverage. Due largely to recent flood disasters, the NFIP is over $20.5 billion in debt.
A proportionally small number of properties insured through the program are repeatedly flooded, repaired, and rebuilt. These properties, known as “severe repetitive loss” (SRL) properties, contribute disproportionally to the rising debts of the NFIP program. SRL properties represent just 0.6 percent of the roughly 5.1 million properties insured through the NFIP, but they account for 9.6 percent of all damages paid, as of 2015. Climate change impacts, including sea level rise, more intense and frequent precipitation events, and increased storm surge, put these already vulnerable properties at even greater risk and will greatly increase the number of properties caught in this cycle of “flood-rebuild-repeat.”
Environmental Law | Law
Dena Adler & Joel Scata,
Breaking the Cycle of "Flood-Rebuild-Repeat": Local and State Options to Improve Substantial Damage and Improvement Standards in the National Flood Insurance Program,
Sabin Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia Law School, January 2019
Available at: https://scholarship.law.columbia.edu/sabin_climate_change/72