I live in New Jersey and in the past I’ve lived in the flood zone and paid into the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as required by law for those living in those regions. I was also very lucky in that I never had to make a claim. But recently Governor Chris Christie has been making statements because of the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy that he thinks the federal government should be out of the flood insurance business.
He was surrounded by victims of the storm, and many of them are unhappy that the checks they received were smaller than they hoped – and bashing the NFIP was an easy “out” for him. But did he really think about what this meant?
The NFIP is 24 billion in debt because of flood damages over the last several years. Can you imagine if the NFIP was not subsidized? Flood insurance premiums would sky rocket – there is just no other way to make the math work. And it means that the insurance company would need to make a profit, so add more dollars to your bill. And they would be a commercial company, meaning every dollar they don’t pay out is a dollar in their pocket, so reduce your claim check.
How can anyone hear this and think it was a good idea? I just don’t understand. But I guess angry people just want to hear someone get blamed.
The other option doesn’t seem much better – which is that those areas just won’t be allowed to rebuild. And while that might be the most logical and ecologically sound response, I’ve lived in New Jersey for the last 20 years and it would destroy the economy if the shore towns went away, and the people who would really suffer are the same working class families who cheered Christie on when he commented on the NFIP.
I just don’t get it. So I wrote the Governor a letter via his website. We’ll see what type of response I get:
I recently heard the Governor talking about flood insurance and he said he thinks the government should not continue the National Flood Insurance Program? I would love to know how the Governor thinks small business and families on the coast are going to survive without the NFIP?
How is a private company going to provide a similar service without raising our costs? The NFIP is 24 billion in debt because of flooding damages.
I see two outcomes. You privatize the NFIP and costs sky rocket, which won’t improve the claims process. Those private companies will have even less reason to pay fair rates. And we will all pay more.
The second is that we don’t allow people to rebuild in the flood zones.
Please tell me how you think removing the NFIP could be a good thing in any way, shape, or form as I’ve been a supporter in the past.