A Federal Emergency Management Agency study of ways to mitigate disruptions due to the shift to actuarial flood insurance rates may take at least two years, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate said yesterday. Testifying before a Senate banking subcommittee, Fugate said that the study, being conducted with the National Academy of Sciences, will involve complex data collections on policyholders and their financial situations.
The hearing covered the implementation of the Biggert-Waters flood insurance reform law, which is intended to make the National Flood Insurance Program financially sustainable. Sens. David Vitter (R-La.) and Mary Landrieu (D-La.) have proposed delaying some premium increases to ease the transition to actuarial rates. Vitter and Landrieu have also objected to maps that rated non-federal levees in Louisiana lower when calculating flood risk.
In response, Fugate said that FEMA would now recognize “non-accredited” levees as providing some degree of flood protection. “These procedures better characterize actual conditions that a community may encounter when addressing non-accredited levees or levee systems,” he said, adding that the new model would apply to a “limited number” of mapping projects starting in fiscal year 2013.