Disaster chief has a Johnson-era insurance problem
“They’re not necessarily inconsistent,” R.J. Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, said by phone. Still, he said, bringing the program into profitability would require an overhaul and stricter approval of property covered by the program.
As of September, when the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office analyzed NFIP finances, the program was $25 billion in debt. Those figures exclude majors storms of 2017, including Hurricanes Harvey, Maria and Irma. And the CBO crunched those figures before President Trump signed a disaster bill in October, forgiving $16 billion worth of the program’s debt.
“A major increase in the enrollment in NFIP seems unlikely,” Lehmann said, adding that it’s unclear if Long was talking about private flood insurance.
In its strategic plan, FEMA said it would be open to increasing flood coverage “regardless of the provider — whether that is through a private insurance or an NFIP policy.” FEMA officials did not respond when asked to provide the NFIP’s current debt level.