The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created as a result of the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. Congress enacted the NFIP primarily because flood insurance was virtually unavailable from the private insurance markets following frequent widespread flooding along the Mississippi River in the early 1960s. The NFIP is a Federal program, managed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), and has three components: to provide flood insurance, to improve floodplain management and to develop maps of flood hazard zones. The NFIP allows property owners in participating communities to buy insurance to protect against flood losses. Participating communities are required to establish management regulations in order to reduce future flood damages. This insurance is intended to furnish as an insurance alternative to disaster assistance and reduces the rising costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by flood. A homeowner is able to purchase excess flood insurance, but they must be covered by NFIP flood insurance first.
On July 6, 2012, the President signed into law the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12),which reauthorized the NFIP through Sept. 30, 2017, and made a number of reforms aimed at making the program more financially and structurally sound. Over the past year, a few of the provisions of BW-12 have been implemented, while others are being phased in over time. The purpose of the legislation is to change the way the NFIP operates and to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, as well as make the program more financially stable. BW-12 also involves changes regarding how Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates impact policyholders. These changes will affect some―but not all―policyholders over time.
Click here for a comprehensive overview of BW-12.