Flood Damage >> Natural Disaster

National Flood Insurance Program Answers to Questions About the NFIP Introduction to the NFIP 1. What is the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)? The NFIP is a Federal program created by Congress to mitigate future flood losses nationwide through sound, community-enforced building and zoning ordinances and to provide access to affordable, federally backed flood insurance protection for Natural Disaster property owners. 

The NFIP is designed to provide an insurance alternative to Natural Disaster assistance to meet the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods. Participation in the NFIP is based on an agreement between local communities and the Federal Government that states that if a community will adopt.

Enforce a floodplain management ordinance to reduce future flood risks to new construction in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs), the Federal Government will make flood insurance available within the Natural Disaster community as a financial protection against flood losses. 2. Why was the NFIP established by Congress? 

For decades, the national response to flood Natural Disaster was generally limited to constructing flood-control works such as dams, levees, seawalls, and the like, and providing natural disaster relief to flood victims. This approach, however, did not reduce losses, nor did it discourage unwise development. In some instances, it may have actually encouraged additional development. 

To compound the problem, due to its high risk and seasonal nature, insurance companies were not able to provide affordable flood insurance coverage. In light of mounting flood losses and escalating costs of Natural Disaster relief to the taxpayers, the U.S. Congress created the NFIP. 

The intent was to reduce future flood damage through community floodplain management ordinances, and provide protection for property owners against potential Natural Disaster losses through an insurance mechanism that requires a premium to be paid for the protection. 3. How was the NFIP established and who administers it? 

The U.S. Congress established the NFIP on August 1, 1968, with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act (NFIA) of 1968. The NFIP was broadened and modified with the passage of the Flood Natural Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and other legislative measures. It was further modified by the National Flood Insurance Reform Act (NFIRA) of 1994 and the Flood Insurance Reform Act (FIRA) of 2004. 

The NFIP is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a component of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). 4. What is a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA)? In support of the NFIP, FEMA identifies flood hazard areas throughout the United States and its Natural Disaster territories. 

Most areas of flood hazard are commonly identified on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). Areas not yet identified by a FIRM may be mapped on Natural Disaster Flood Hazard Boundary Maps (FHBMs). Several areas of flood hazards are identified on these maps. One of these areas is the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). 

The SFHA is a high-risk area defined as any land that would be inundated by a flood having a 1-percent chance of occurring in a given year (also referred to as the base flood). The high-risk Natural Disaster area standard constitutes a reasonable compromise between the need for building restrictions to minimize potential loss of life and property and the economic benefits to be derived from floodplain development. 

Development may take place within an SFHA, provided that development complies with local floodplain management ordinances, which must meet the minimum Federal requirements. Flood insurance is required for insurable structures within high-risk Natural Disaster areas to protect Federal financial investments and assistance used for acquisition and/or construction purposes within communities participating in the NFIP. 

What is a Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM)? A Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) is an official map of a community on which FEMA has delineated both the special hazard areas and the Natural Disaster risk premium zones applicable to the community. 6. What is a flood? Flood is defined in the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP).

A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more Natural Disaster properties (at least one of which is your property) from overflow of inland or tidal waters, from unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, or from mudflow. 

For a complete definition, refer to Section II. 7. What is the NFIP’s Write Your Own (WYO) Program? The Write Your Own (WYO) Program, begun in 1983, is a cooperative undertaking of the Natural Disaster insurance industry and FEMA. The WYO Program allows participating property and casualty insurance companies to write and service Federal flood insurance policies in their own names. 

Companies underwrite policies and process Natural Disaster claims while the Federal Government retains responsibility for underwriting losses. All WYO Companies provide identical coverage, and rates are subject to NFIP rules and regulations. 8. Do state insurance regulators have any jurisdiction over the NFIP in their respective states? 

As established by the U.S. Congress, the sale of flood insurance under the NFIP is subject to FEMA rules and Natural Disaster regulations. FEMA has elected to have state-licensed insurance companies’ agents and brokers sell flood insurance to consumers. State regulators hold the insurance companies’ agents and brokers accountable for providing NFIP customers with the same standards and level of service that the states require of them in selling their other lines of insurance. 

Private insurance companies participating in the Write Your Own (WYO) Program must be licensed and regulated by states to engage in the business of property insurance in those states in which they wish to sell flood insurance. 9. How does the NFIP benefit Natural Disaster property owners? Taxpayers? Communities? Through the NFIP, property owners in participating communities are able to insure against flood losses. 

By employing wise floodplain management, a participating community can reduce risk and protect its citizens and the community against much of the devastating financial losses resulting from flood natural disaster. Careful local management of development in the floodplains results in construction practices that can reduce flood losses and the high costs associated with flood Natural Disaster to all levels of government. 

What is the definition of a community? A community, Natural Disaster as defined for the NFIP’s purposes, is any state, area, or political subdivision; any Indian tribe authorized tribal organization, or Alaska native village; or authorized native organization that has the authority to adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances for the area under its jurisdiction. 

In most cases, a community is an incorporated city, town, township, borough, or village, or an unincorporated area of a county or parish. However, Natural Disaster some states have statutory authorities that vary from this description.

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