A new federal law (The “Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012”) reauthorizes the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years. At the same time, a provision of the law (Section 100215) establishes a “Technical Mapping Advisory Council.” This Council is to make recommendations on mapping standards and guidelines for flood insurance rate maps.
The new law requires that the Technical Mapping Advisory Council develop recommendations that “incorporate the best available climate science to assess flood risks,” and how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) can best “consider the impact of the rise in the sea level.”
Adding these considerations into the flood maps and considerations of FEMA will help address the complaint that while flood insurance rate maps and hazard calculations by FEMA may not be updated for many years–maybe decades–at a time, FEMA was previously not authorized to consider how future conditions might impact hazards such as flood risk.
Other significant changes to the NFIP include:
- New limitations on issuance of subsidized flood insurance policies (Section 100205);
- An increase in the maximum allowable annual premium increase from 10% to 20%;
- A study on the possibility of including business interruption and additional living expenses coverage; and
- A required study and report on the possible options for privatizing the NFIP.
The text of the new law may be found at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-112hr4348enr/pdf/BILLS-112hr4348enr.pdf. Go to Division F, Title II, Flood Insurance, which begins on page 512 of 584.