This week the House Financial Services Committee will mark up a package of bills that would reform and reauthorize the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) supports Chairman Jeb Hensarling’s much needed efforts to reform the NFIP by allowing for private market competition and putting in place measures to protect American taxpayers.
The NFIP has faced persistent challenges since it was created decades ago and those challenges are only slated to grow. Over half the U.S. population now lives in coastal counties and according to government statistics, more than 90 percent of all presidentially declared national disasters involve flooding. It is also the case that roughly five percent of U.S. households carry flood insurance.
The NFIP is currently indebted to American taxpayers by almost $25 billion, and allowing the status quo to continue will only further increase this burden and the potential for taxpayer exposure to losses.
The package of bills now set to be marked up by the Financial Services Committee would begin the process of reforming many of the issues facing the NFIP. A number of the bills being considered by the Committee seek to better protect taxpayers by allowing for private insurers to compete in the market, thereby providing an alternative to keeping taxpayers on the hook.
Now more than ever Congressional lawmakers have the opportunity to enact positive reforms to the NFIP, which has for too long placed a burden on taxpayers to subsidize the program’s functions.
Although ATR is concerned with some of the provisions contained in the package, Chairman Hensarling and the House Financial Services Committee’s efforts overall to address issues facing the NFIP are greatly needed in order to protect policyholders, American taxpayers, and the overall viability of the program.
Photo credit: Gage Skidmore