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Spatially Speaking
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Federal Issue: Flood Insurance (NFIP) Reform
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Flood Insurance (NFIP) Reform

The statutory authority for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will expire at the end of 2017. NFIP remains $24 billion in debt to U.S. taxpayers and hasn't repaid any principal on its loans since 2010. In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Act and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act in 2014 to begin NFIP reform. Further legislation is needed in the next reauthorization to improve the surveying and mapping data needed to provide more accuracy and solvency in the program and fairer premiums for homeowners.

Geospatial information is central to all aspects of flood insurance risk assessment and emergency management (preparedness, prevention, protection, detection, response, recovery). Imagery, map data and other geospatial assets are of most critical value in emergency response during the initial hours and days immediately before and following a hurricane, flood or other disaster. When overlayed on accurate existing data, such as the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps, imagery acquired immediately after an event can be an effective, efficient and life-saving tool. Hurricane Katrina also exposed the jeopardy levees face from breaching or topping-out, creating another natural catastrophe. Levees significantly complicate the process of proper identification and quantification of flood hazard risks and they should remain a map funding priority under FEMA.


MAPPS Executive Director John Palatiello addressed the House Committee on Financial Services during a roundtable discussion on FEMA/NFIP Mapping Policy January 7, 2016.


Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer
(R-MO) and John Palatiello

MAPPS Comments to HUD on Flood Hazard and Risk (12-27-2016)
MAPPS Issue Paper for Flood Insurance (NFIP) Reform
MAPPS Presentation to Real Estate Community on NFIP, 3DEP and LiDAR (12-8-2016)
MAPPS Presentation to SmarterSafer on NFIP & 3DEP (11-3-2015)
Flood Insurance Mapping Reform (FIRM) Act Issue Paper (2011)