The US National Flood Insurance Program is due to lapse next Tuesday, 31 July. It now looks likely that another short-term extension will be approved, to the end of hurricane season in November. But there is growing acknowledgment that the whole model for household flood insurance needs fundamental reform, not least to narrow the flood protection gap. If Congress grasps this nettle will there be an expanded role for role for the commercial market?
This new report from Wharton Risk Management and Decision Processes Center, "The Emerging Private Residential Flood Insurance Market in the United States", is therefore very timely. The authors consulted widely around the insurance industry.
Two particular takeaways:
- widespread take-up of flood insurance would offer resilience benefits, particularly among low- and middle-income households; and
- flood insurance is only one component of flood resilience.
For decades, the NFIP has been homeowners’ only option for flood insurance, but over the past several years, a small private market for residential flood insurance has emerged. Policymakers are increasingly interested in learning whether the expansion of this market could help meet the policy goals of increasing the number of homeowners with flood insurance or offering more affordable coverage.