Floods cause more damage each year in the United States than any other kind of natural disaster — so much more, in fact, that most private insurance companies stopped offering flood insurance decades ago. In 1968, the federal government stepped in, creating the National Flood Insurance Program. The program is run today by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
90% of all disasters in this country involve flooding.
Over the last 11 years, the program has fallen billions in debt; a 2015 report from the Government Accountability Office said it was unlikely to be able to repay the money it has borrowed from taxpayers. Worse yet, the program has been accused of waste, poor oversight and fraud.
Scientists anticipate that the U.S. will face rising tides and increasingly severe weather as the climate changes — and will therefore be more prone to disastrous floods. But Congress has repealed provisions that would have garnered more funding for the National Flood Insurance Program, and FEMA’s projected budgets get smaller, not larger, through 2021.
Can the program afford the next major disaster?
Read more about how America’s flood insurance program works.