It might be time to change the program's approach in handling flood
claims. Areas that are prone to repeated flooding should get a
one-time payout; after that, if they choose to rebuild, it's at their
Thousands of Homes Keep Flooding, Yet They Keep Being Rebuilt Again
By Katherine Bagley
More than 2,100 properties across the U.S. enrolled in the National
Flood Insurance Program have flooded and been rebuilt more than 10
times since 1978, according to a new analysis of insurance data by the
Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). One home in Batchelor,
Louisiana has flooded 40 times over the past four decades, receiving
$428,379 in insurance payments. More than 30,000 properties in the
program, run by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have flooded
multiple times over the years. Those homes, known as “severe
repetitive loss properties,” make up just 0.6 percent of federal flood
insurance policies. But they account for 10.6 percent of the program’s
claims — totaling $5.5 billion in payments.
Of the 30,000 homes analyzed by the NRDC, the average cumulative
payout per property as a result of repeated flooding was $181,444.
Nearly half of these repetitive loss properties have been paid more in
flood insurance money than their houses are worth, the NRDC found.
According to FEMA records, Louisiana homeowners with flood insurance
have poor track records when it comes to preparing for the next storm.
The state leads the nation in severe repetitive loss properties, with
more than 7,200 of the NFIP’s 30,000 multi-flood homes. Since 1978,
these Louisiana houses have received $1.22 billion in flood insurance
payments — 22 percent of all repetitive loss claims, according the NRDC.
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