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Congressman Higgins Pushes for Termination of National Flood Insurance Program

Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) joined fellow House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee member Candice Miller (MI-10) in introducing an amendment to H.R. 1309, the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011, which would terminate the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). 

“The Flood Insurance Program is fundamentally flawed and economically broken,” said Higgins.  “In Western New York and other communities across the nation it levies a mandatory flood tax on homeowners who are at virtually no risk of flooding and see absolutely no benefit.  It hinders small business growth, negatively impacts property values and is driving up our national debt.  We need to lead with common sense and eliminate, rather than extend, this unfair program.”

A recent report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) lists the National Flood Insurance Program’s outstanding debt at $17.8 billion as of June 2011.

The bipartisan Miller-Higgins amendment would take the federal government out of the flood insurance business effective January 2012 and allow states to form regional insurance compacts to spread risk.  It continues to allow the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to assist in their efforts in producing high quality flood maps, as well as assist states and the private sector to insure against flood loss.

Congressman Higgins has been vocal in his opposition to the flood insurance program.  Of the 34 billion which has been paid into the National Flood Insurance Program over the past thirty years, $15 billion has gone to Louisiana, despite the fact that Louisiana has paid less than $3 billion into the program.  Over the same time period, homeowners and businesses in Congressman Higgins’ district in Erie County, New York have paid $35 million into the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and received only $8 million back.  

Congressman Higgins has a long history of contesting flood maps in Western New York which mandate homeowners acquire expensive flood insurance.   

The U.S. Congress established the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.  The program is administered by Federal Emergency Management Agency under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  H.R. 1309, the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2011 reauthorizes the program for 5 years.