BEATRICE – The new head of the National Flood Insurance Program says the Federal Emergency Management Agency is undertaking a two-step campaign…increasing the amount of flood insurance in place and focusing on mitigation efforts to address hazards of weather events ahead of time.
Dave Maurstad is a former Nebraska Lieutenant Governor, State Senator and Beatrice Mayor. He was recently elevated to the top position in the flood insurance program. The program adopted a new strategic plan in March. One part of that is closing an insurance gap.
:43 “pain and suffering”
Back-to-back difficult hurricane seasons and events such as inland flooding, wildfires and mudslides helped shape the new strategy. Maurstad says the highest priority of the strategic plan is to develop what he calls a “culture of preparedness”.
:23 “of recovery”
Maurstad says he sees the pain homeowners go through, when he goes into a neighborhood following a disaster. Some have flood insurance, others do not.
Currently, there are about five million flood insurance policy-holders in the U.S., generating about five billion dollars in revenue. For persons in low to medium risk areas, preferred-risk flood insurance policies can cost around $500 a year. For those in high risk flood zones, the cost can rise to around $2,000.
:36 “the future”
Maurstad was the Beatrice Mayor while the city participated in a federal flood plain buyout program. Dating back to the late 70s, the program helped remove property from flood threatened areas.
:25 “for everybody”
Maurstad says one goal of the National Flood Insurance Program is to quadruple the amount of investment in mitigation by 2022. He says that would allow the nation to bounce back faster from natural disasters.
He said every part of the U.S. could use improvement in the amount of flood insurance coverage, including those in the Midwest who live near rivers or streams.
:35 “flood insurance”
Maurstad said there are Federal Emergency Management Agency grant programs that are available such as pre-disaster mitigation grants, flood mitigation grants and programs that help out, post-disaster.
Congress is being asked to provide a steadier stream of funds ahead of disasters. Maurstad says a bill before Congress proposes allocating about six percent of a normal year’s disaster costs, toward pre-disaster mitigation.
:07 “in the future”
Maurstad says FEMA is examining how programs for state and local governments can be more streamlined, and less complicated.