That received support from the conservative R Street Institute, which advocates for free markets. R.J. Lehmann, the institute’s director of insurance, praised Waters and said her idea is “the first substantial policy proposal” to address the affordability of federal flood insurance. Policies cost an average of $699 a year, according to FEMA, but vary widely, particularly in high-risk areas in which many low-income individuals and families live. Current subsidies “disproportionately benefit wealthier areas,” Lehmann said. Subsidizing low-income policyholders — those making less than 80 percent of an area’s median household income — is “crucial” to phasing out other subsidies, Lehmann said.