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Rubio: Congress needs long-term solution for flood insurance program

Jul 18, 2018 | Comunicados de Prensa

Marco Rubio column: Congress needs long-term solution for flood insurance program
By Marco Rubio
July 18, 2018
Tampa Bay Times
If Congress fails to act, the National Flood Insurance Program will expire in two weeks, leaving those with coverage in limbo and forcing delays in real estate transactions. As Floridians continue to recover and rebuild our communities from last year’s hurricane, it is paramount that Congress quickly reauthorize the program.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida has nearly 1.8 million flood insurance policies in force, and it accounts for more than one-third of policies nationwide. Contrary to what some may think, this program is not a luxury but a necessity for Floridians, who have paid more than their fair share. In fact, Floridians receive just $1 in claims benefits for every $4 paid in premiums.
This program, unfortunately, is far from perfect and in need of reform. Over the past several years, Congress has attempted to address the flaws within the flood insurance program but has not yet been able to effectively reform the program despite its nationwide impact.
From 2005 to 2014, FEMA spent more than $277 billion in disaster aid to rebuild communities after flooding had occurred. However, FEMA only invested $600 million in pre-disaster mitigation programs during that same time span. It is not a hypothetical question to ask whether investing in mitigation is worth the cost. FEMA and many other research groups have repeatedly cited statistics demonstrating that every dollar spent on mitigation results in $4 or more saved. Yet we continue to address devastating flood events by taking a reactionary approach instead of reducing the risks in our flood-prone communities and saving taxpayer money.
After Floridians saw their premiums skyrocket in 2012, we cannot expect to have a solvent flood insurance program if we make it so unaffordable that participants are forced to forego it. The key to sustainability is program participation, and ensuring that Floridians and others nationwide realize the importance of obtaining and maintaining flood insurance coverage.
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