Note: This is the sixth part of a series of blog posts that examine the impact of changes to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) on New York City’s coastal neighborhoods, many of which are home to many low-to-middle income homeowners. In this post, we partner with guest blogger Rebecca Elliott to examine the National Academy of Sciences’ new report,  Affordability of National Flood Insurance Program Premiums

At the Center for NYC Neighborhoods, we closely monitor developments that impact the affordability of flood insurance for homeowners in the many at-risk neighborhoods in and around the coast. So when the National Academy of Sciences, working on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), released the first of its much-awaited reports on flood insurance affordability recently, we were eager to read it.

Guest blogger Rebecca Elliott is a great friend of the Center, and a PhD candidate at UC Berkeley. She’s also the Flood Insurance Expert at Zone A New York (where she blogged this summer). She recently shared with us an excellent summary of the affordability report. Those wishing to read all 137 pages can find the whole report here.

The study came out of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform and Modernization Act of 2012, which required FEMA to initiate an “affordability study” to assess how rising flood insurance rates will impact the ability of policyholders to afford flood insurance. Biggert-Waters specifically called for this study to examine forms of targeted assistance that could help policyholders afford flood insurance, through such proven mechanisms as means-tested vouchers.

While the study did not provide a comprehensive set of recommendations for ensuring flood insurance affordability, it did detail the history and the evolving, and sometimes conflicting, mandates of the National Flood Insurance Program. It also examined three options for ensuring affordability: providing direct financial assistance to homeowners, reforming NFIP pricing, and establishing community-based programs, such as the Community Rating System, to lower premiums at the community level.

Thanks again to Rebecca Elliott for providing this great summary!