Marsh subsidiary and direct servicing agent of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Torrent Technologies has highlighted the need for public and private sectors to take collaborative action now in order to mitigate catastrophic flood risk.
According to the report, 40% of the US population live in coastal counties today putting them at risk of storm surge and record-setting high tides from rising sea levels, both significant sources of coastal flooding.
“Policymakers, regulators, insurance leaders, and other stakeholders should work diligently to ensure that flood risk does not add to the financial burden the country is facing,” said Kevin Tobin, President and CEO of Torrent.
“Action is needed now, especially in light of the extremely active 2020 Atlantic hurricane season and rising sea levels.”
Chief among these actions is to extend the NFIP, the main source of flood insurance in the US, which is set to expire September 30, Tobin said.
If the NFIP is allowed to lapse, no new flood coverage can be written by the program, which could constrain real estate transactions and economic recovery.
An NFIP extension is not assured, the report notes. The process is further complicated by 2020 being an election year, and one where legislators’ attention is focused on combating the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We urge policymakers to extend the NFIP and keep flood insurance available to the millions of Americans who need it,” Tobin added.
But flood risk is not a problem that insurance alone can solve, the report stresses. It requires coordinated resiliency efforts involving the public and private sectors.
The underlying principle of the code is that flood resilience must combine resistance with the ability to recover quickly.
“Together, the public and private sectors can apply innovative insurance solutions, resilience planning and execution, fresh technologies, and new processes to better understand and evaluate flood risk in the US with the goal of building more resiliency and mitigating damages,” Mr. Tobin said.