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Hoping the Levee Holds: NFIP In Danger


Hurricane Katrina still haunts New Orleans, forcing residents to think back to the summer of 2005 every time storm clouds gather. When the waters finally receded, more than 1,800 Americans would become casualties to Katrina and 25,000 more would still remain living at the Superdome. Fully 70 percent of New Orleans’ occupied housing (134,000 units) would be damaged. It would go down in history as America’s most costly disaster.

In the aftermath, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) would pay out over $16 billion dollars to help the Gulf Coast rebuild. That money helped bring homes back where there was only destruction, to clear away thousands of tons of debris, to return New Orleans and other affected areas to some semblance of pre-flood life.

The National Apartment Association (NAA) is working to educate and partner with policymakers to protect NFIP, help it serve more people and enact needed and overdue reforms. Those reforms take many shapes, like promoting a more robust private market, investing in more accurate flood mapping technology and allowing apartment owners to obtain umbrella coverage for multiple buildings on a property. The NFIP is an essential risk management tool for the apartment industry, and NAA is committed to working with policymakers to ensure its long-term health and viability.

NFIP performed admirably in the crisis for which it had been established all the way back in 1968. At that time, local communities and the federal government were working out an agreement, wherein communities enforce floodplain management at their level to reduce the risk of future flooding in special designated areas, dubbed Special Flood Hazard Areas, and the federal government would make available insurance to serve as a financial protection against flood losses where that coverage didn’t exist. 

It remains NAA’s goal to ensure NFIP works more effectively for apartment owners, and the organization is here as a resource for our members, for the public and for policymakers to help achieve that goal. Find out more about NAA and the NFIP by visiting our NFIP policy issue page, or reach out to Manager of Public Policy Alex Rossello, NAA’s subject matter expert on flood insurance.