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Budget Deal Extends Flood Insurance Program – Again

The deal fails to provide a long-term fix for the underfunded program, which more than 200,000 homeowners in Harris County rely on

Damaged furniture and personal belongings sit in front of a flooded home in September in Richwood, Texas. Several months after Hurricane Harvey hit southern Texas, residents are still navigating the long recovery process.

The need for flood insurance became very clear after Hurricane Harvey put Houston under water.

The problem is, the National Flood Insurance Program is not sustainable the way it's currently set up.

"The main concern is that it is deeply in debt and continues to be a source of taxpayers' subsidies," said Seth Chandler, who specializes in insurance law at the UH Law Center, "so that people in non-flood areas are continuing to subsidize people in flood areas."

He said the continuing resolution the Congress passed simply kicks the can down the road, instead of addressing the problem.

"The way to make it sustainable is to both increase the premiums, particularly in the more flood-prone areas," Chandler said. "And also to use science to draw maps that more accurately reflect risk."

Lawmakers have until March 23 to come up with either another short-term extension or a long-term solution for the NFIP.


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