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Fri Mar 29, 2013, 06:40 AM

Cutting-edge approach needed to revamp flood insurance, flood risk analysis

WASHINGTON – With the price of flood insurance on the rise and climate change likely to worsen Midwest flooding, a scientific panel wants federal emergency officials to modernize the outmoded tools used to analyze the probability and impact of floods.

Such a change, if adopted by FEMA, could have major consequences in Missouri and Illinois, where debates over flood insurance, FEMA flood mapping, and flood damage from the Mississippi and Missouri rivers have dominated much of the discussion in the Metro East and other low-lying regions.

And the report by the National Research Council is timely because FEMA’s head, Craig Fugate, warned at a conference this week in New Orleans that major rate hikes will be phased in over three or four years for many people who have flood insurance.

Those rate increases are coming because in reauthorizing the debt-ridden National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) last summer, Congress phased out subsidies for many properties (such as second homes, business properties and “repetitive loss” properties) and required that premiums for newly insured properties meet the full actuarial costs.


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