The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International urges the federal government to implement policies that ensure that all commercial property owners have the ability to obtain flood insurance for their properties at reasonable and affordable rates. BOMA supports efforts from Congress to ensure the long term viability of the National Flood Insurance Program. BOMA also supports initiatives that expand the private insurance market and improve the accuracy of flood mapping.
The cost of flood damage imposes significant challenges on commercial building owners. According to FEMA, at least one in four businesses never reopen after a severe flooding event. For this reason, the market for flood insurance must provide affordable coverages that accurately reflect true flood risk.
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), approved by Congress and managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), provides flood insurance to the most at-risk properties, improves floodplain management and oversees the nation’s flood mapping. Without the NFIP, tax payers would be responsible to cover much of the cost of severe flood events and the owners of the nation’s highest risk buildings would be unable to obtain flood insurance. Historically, the program has been self-supporting, with the amount paid out in claims totaling less than the revenue collected from premiums. This changed with Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina, which are responsible for the program accruing $24 billion in debt.
In 2012, Congress passed the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012, which extended the NFIP until September 30th, 2017 and attempted to return the program to fiscal solvency. Concerns over the drastic rate increases that were enacted in the bill, which made buying flood insurance for some properties unfeasible, caused Congress in 2014 to amend Biggert-Waters and pass into law the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act. Without Congressional action, the NFIP will expire on September 30th, 2017.