Senate Panel Examines New Mapping Models for Flood Insurance Program

In the wake of a devastating flood in Louisiana, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is trying to debunk the perception that residents outside of a 100-year flood zone are safe from disaster.

The agency is working to implement new data-modeling and risk-assessment tools recommended in a 2015 annual report given to FEMA by the Technical Mapping Advisory Council, a federal commission that makes recommendations to the agency. Those recommendations were the subject of a Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee hearing Tuesday.

“Today, most homeowners do not understand the true flood risk to their properties,” said Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) at today’s hearing. “FEMA’s rate model was and still is based on limited data from the early ’70s, and nearly half of FEMA’s maps remain out of date.”

Technical Mapping Advisory Council Chairman John Dorman emphasized to lawmakers the need to change the “perception” of safety for residents outside of the 100-year flood risk zone, such as many in Louisiana.

Sen. David Vitter noted that in his home state of Louisiana, most victims of the recent flood lacked coverage under the National Flood Insurance Program.

“Unfortunately only about 22 percent of those flooded had flood insurance, not because they didn’t meet some requirement or some notion of what was a prudent thing to do — rather, they were way outside what was understood as any sort of flood zone,” the Republican senator said.

“Some homeowners and businesses had flood insurance policies to help their recovery” in Louisiana, said ranking member Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). “But many others did not, possibly because it wasn’t required or because they assumed they were safe outside of the 100-year floodplain.”

The report from the Technical Mapping Advisory Council recommends a transition from a 100-year model of flood risk to a more precise model, as well as better risk assessments.


Finance Brief: Icahn Resigns as Special Adviser to Trump

Billionaire investor Carl Icahn resigned from his role as President Donald Trump’s unpaid adviser on regulatory reform issues just before The New Yorker published a profile that detailed potential conflicts of interests related to Icahn’s stake in a Texas-based petroleum refining company. Icahn cited “partisan bickering” in his resignation letter and denied he had profited from his advisory position.

Finance Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

Members of President Donald Trump’s Strategic and Policy Forum, an advisory group of business leaders, decided to disband after Trump blamed the violence in Charlottesville, Va., on both white nationalists and the protesters who opposed them. Later, Trump announced the dissolution of that group and of an advisory panel on manufacturing. JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Jamie Dimon, a Strategic and Policy Forum member, said in a memo to employees that he “strongly” disagreed with Trump’s comments.

Finance Brief: Week in Review & What’s Ahead

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones said the state will investigate whether or not Wells Fargo harmed hundreds of thousands of customers by selling them car insurance they didn’t need. The probe follows subpoenas issued by New York state’s banking and insurance regulator to two Wells Fargo units last week.

Load More