[I've tried twice to post my comment. It's apparently in permanent "moderation." The first version has been "in moderation" for two days!]

Reply to "Congress Should Stop Shoring Up Beach Homes" (Bloomberg)

The claim that the argument is about federal government "subsidizing" flood insurance for coastal homeowners is simply untrue.

President Obama (among others) wants a small percentage of Americans -- those who live near coasts and inland waterways -- to pay off the cost of the federal government's failed New Orleans levees, by paying ruinous rates for homeowners insurance, while enabling him to pretend to have not raised taxes. His policy is also supported by radical "green" activists who want to make coastal development economically unfeasible, by making mandatory flood insurance unaffordable.

That's just wrong. It is morally wrong, and it is bad economic policy. Federal flood insurance on coastal property in many States, like North Carolina, is already profitable, without these rate increases.

Insurance rates are supposed to be based on the risks associated with the properties being insured. Raising their flood insurance rates would only make sense if the high losses in New Orleans and the profits in other States were products of mere random luck, implying that future risk to property in those States is higher than their loss history suggests.

But we know that isn't true. Most States do not have cities which are built below sea-level, behind federally-constructed levees of questionable integrity. It's not fair to make coastal homeowners in those States bear the burden by themselves of paying for the federal government's expensive New Orleans levee blunder, while other citizens pay nothing.

Note, however, that the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 is just a band-aid. Biggert-Waters contains many other very bad provisions, including provisions which appear to be designed to increase the cost of insurance and discourage coastal development.

For instance, it has a provision encouraging, for the first time, the squandering of federal flood insurance premium money on private "reinsurance," of the sort which has wiped out most of the reserves of the NC Beach Plan (now called the NC Coastal Property Insurance Pool). That's just a way to siphon money from Americans, and put it into the pockets of (mostly foreign) reinsurance companies.

If there's any entity on planet Earth which should self-insure, it's the U.S. federal government! Private reinsurance makes no sense at all for the federal government. It is a scam, pure and simple, by an unholy alliance of reinsurance companies and leftist Climate Movement activists.

Biggert-Waters also has a provision directing FEMA to draw all new Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). The new flood maps will, for the first time, incorporate "climate science" to make sea-level rise projections. Those are code words meaning that new flood maps are to be based on future, hypothetical, politically-driven predictions of wildly accelerated sea-level rise, which are thoroughly inconsistent with sound scientific analysis.

It sets up a body to oversee this process, called the TMAC (Technical Mapping Advisory Council). This process will create fanciful "flood maps" which make billions of dollars worth of coastal property undevelopable, and which have nothing at all to do with real flood risk. It could end up being even a bigger economic catastrophe for coastal communities than the disastrous Biggert-Waters insurance provisions.

Biggert-Waters is a man-made disaster, and it needs to be repealed altogether. The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 doesn't do that, but it is a good first step.

Two good sources for more information are the NC-20 and Stop FEMA Now web sites.

-Dave Burton
Cary, NC