Mandatory Flood Insurance? Part Two

This article from the Bee Tuesday February 21, 2006 continues the flood insurance discussion.

I’m sure I’m missing something, but isn’t there some responsibility of public leadership to protect the public from natural disasters through wise policies that reduce their potential occurrence, when the technological solutions are available, like flooding or in another public safety issue, crime.

Rather than penalizing the victim of flooding or crime, shouldn’t public leadership be using those solutions available to protect the public from being victimized in the first place?

Three strikes and more prisons have reduced the crime rate substantially and the public is much safer as a result.

The Dutch accept nothing less than 1,000 year flood protection in the urban planning and they have virtually reduced flooding to zilch, so the technology is available.

What are they doing that we can’t?

Here is an excerpt.

Areas at higher risk may face new rules
Homes repeatedly hit by floods may be penalized as national costs grow.
By Carrie Peyton Dahlberg — Bee Staff WriterPublished 2:15 am PST Tuesday, February 21, 2006


Barry Cecil wanted a home that would be a project, and he knew he’d found it in the vacant, flood-damaged place on a pretty creekside lot in Citrus Heights.

He didn’t know that federal flood insurance had paid out four different claims to previous owners, totaling more than the house was worth, according to city records.

“That’s crazy,” said his wife, Lynn Cecil, shaking her head. But it’s not uncommon.

As undaunted as a kid with a sandcastle, Americans build and are flooded, build and are flooded, helped by special insurance policies designed and backed by the federal government.

From Sacramento to New Orleans, Guerneville to Miami, the National Flood Insurance Program has spent billions to rebuild the same houses the same way to face the same danger.

Now, with the program virtually bankrupted by 2005 hurricane losses, questions about its cost and effectiveness are growing increasingly pointed in Washington.

Some are even suggesting that if flood insurance cannot be fixed, it should simply be abolished.
The system is so plagued by bad maps, subsidies and shoddy enforcement that it runs the risk of being “a danger to the nation,” J. Robert Hunter, one of its former administrators and now a consumer advocate, said in written testimony this month to the Senate Banking Committee.

The committee’s chair, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., is considering a complete overhaul to restore the program’s fiscal health, said spokesman Andrew Gray.

Nothing is off the table, said Gray, including policies that are basically “giving a subsidy to people to live in harm’s way.”

Some of the options being discussed in Washington could have a major impact in thousands of flood-prone communities, including Sacramento.

Among them are ending subsidized insurance rates, denying coverage altogether for some homes or areas, spending more to prevent repeat flooding, and requiring many more people to buy flood insurance.

Some who have counted on flood insurance say it wouldn’t be fair to change the rules on them now.

About David H Lukenbill

I am a native of Sacramento, as are my wife and daughter. I am a consultant to nonprofit organizations, and have a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Behavior and a Master of Public Administration degree, both from the University of San Francisco. We live along the American River with two cats and all the wild critters we can feed. I am the founding president of the American River Parkway Preservation Society and currently serve as the CFO and Senior Policy Director. I also volunteer as the President of The Lampstand Foundation, a nonprofit organization I founded in 2003.
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