Plus hurricane conference news
There’s some startling statistics out of the recent National Hurricane Conference in Orlando; tens of thousands of homeowners required to have flood insurance don’t; and new enhanced pre-disaster mitigation funding is moving through Congress. Plus, FEMA’s $405M for emergency managers. It’s all in this week’s Flood Digest.
National Hurricane Conference: With the pandemic waning and weather catastrophes upper mind, it’s no surprise that this year’s conference saw record attendance. National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham delivered an eye-opener: “We have had more Cat 4 and Cat 5 landfalls in the United States from 2017 to 2021 than we did from 1963 to 2016.” FEMA Director Deanne Criswell followed-up, adding that today’s hurricanes “are stronger, lasting longer, and at higher durations over land,” pointing to last summer’s Hurricane Ida, with “unheard of” Cat 4 winds and rain for four hours over land, leaving damage from Louisiana all the way to New York. Criswell said that 65% of counties, cities and towns still have not adopted modern building codes. Those that do, she said, will avoid paying $132 billion in storm damages by the year 2040.
With hurricane season just 36 days away, I’m happy to share my “Lisa’s Lucky 7 Hurricane Season Prep” checklist for you to click, share, and link to for your family, friends, and clients.
No Flood Coverage: For years, some of us in the insurance and mitigation community have been asking whether anyone is checking just how many federally-backed home mortgages are out there without the required flood insurance. A new report from HUD’s inspector general is helping answer that question. It shows that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) provides taxpayer-backed mortgages to 8.2 million homes in the U.S. with almost 200,000 of those properties in high risk flood zones. Those homes are supposed to have insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The report’s sampling reveals at least 31,500 did not in 2020 – they either had no or inadequate NFIP insurance or had private insurance instead. The value of those mortgages totaled $4.5 billion. The report recommends the FHA develop a control system to monitor compliance.
More Mitigation Please: The U.S. House of Representatives recently passed two bills designed to beef-up pre-disaster mitigation and post-disaster recovery. The Resilient America Act (HR 5689) would allow more mitigation projects by increasing funding of FEMA’s Building Resilient Infrastructure and Communities (BRIC) program from the current 6% to 15%. At least 10% of BRIC grant money would be required to go to projects that address non-compliance with building codes. The bill also creates a pilot program for residential resilience retrofit block grants to states, tribes, and territories.
The House also passed the Small Project Efficient and Effective Disaster (SPEED) Recovery Act (HR 5641). It would increase threshold eligibility to $1 million to qualify more small projects under the Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act under simplified FEMA rules.
Calling all Emergency Managers: FEMA has issued a reminder to apply for $405.1 million in grant money to help state and local governments develop their emergency management capabilities and for all-hazards preparedness activities. The initial application deadline is June 6.
LMA Newsletter of 4-25-22