These days — or so it seems — everyone wants changes in the nation’s flood insurance program. The latest group to weigh in is the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). On the agenda for next week’s annual meeting is a number of proposals on reforming and reauthorizing the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Here’s what the NAIC is looking at:
• Long-term reauthorization of the NFIP
• Private market flood insurance growth
• Mitigation planning support
• Support to reduce losses
Don Griffin is the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) VP of personal lines. His association says the NAIC and its state regulators have the right idea. And it’s time to start lobbying for Congress to go that direction because the NFIP authorization expires in September of next year.
“PCI applauds the NAIC and state regulators for continuing the conversation about flood insurance and understanding the importance of a long-term NFIP reauthorization, as 5.1 million consumers and businesses rely on the program for protection from the devastation that floods can bring,” Griffin said.
A private market — he added — gives consumers more choices.
Another positive development in the issue of flood insurance is how the U.S. government forecasts floods. It’s one that might help usher in more private sector insurance in the flood insurance line.
Scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have developed a program that runs on its Cray XC40 super computer that dramatically increases its ability to track how water is moving in the nation’s rivers and streams. It’s — says a NOAA news release — the “biggest improvement in flood forecasting the country has ever seen.”
How exhaustive is the new information source? Titled the National Water Model, it takes data from over 8,000 U.S Geological Survey gauges and simulates conditions for 2.7 million locations in the contiguous United States.
It is so complex that it will generate hourly forecasts for the nation’s entire river network. Until now the best NOAA could do is to forecast what’s happening on 4,000 locations — and at that — just every four hours.
National Weather Service director Louis Uccellini, Ph.D. said this is an amazing and important step in flood prediction. “With a changing climate, we’re experiencing more prolonged droughts and a greater frequency of record-breaking floods across the country, underscoring the nation’s need for expanded water information. The National Water Model will improve resiliency to water extremes in American communities. And as our forecasts get better, so will our planning and protection of life and property when there’s either too much water, too little, or poor water quality,” he said.
Even more importantly, the insurance implications are obvious.
Source links: Carrier Management, Insurance Journal