Candice Miller for Congress, Michigan

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Miller: National Flood Insurance Program is a Terrible Deal for Michigan

by Candice Miller on June 26, 2010

June 24, 2010

WASHINGTON, June 23 — Rep. Candice S. Miller, R-Mich. (10th CD), issued the following news release:

U.S. Congresswoman Candice Miller (MI-10) today spoke on floor of the U.S. House of Representatives in opposition to the Authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program:

“I rise today to express my very serious concerns about this program and to remind my colleagues that this program is actually a very bad deal for my constituents in Michigan and in many other states in the Great Lakes Basin.

“For the past few years, FEMA has been engaged doing what Congress directed them to do: updating and modernizing our flood maps across the entire nation. We all recognize that with new technology, we can and should update the maps to reflect our best science, and to convert existing outdated maps into a user-friendly digital format. I want to make clear that I support that effort and those objectives.

“However, property owners on the Great Lakes are being treated very unfairly by these new maps, which have taken effect in my district and all through the basin over the past several years. The net effect is that we can show how these property owners, whose properties very rarely flood – nor have the potential to flood – are being treated badly – in fact, they are being abused by the National Flood Insurance Program. My constituents, many of them on the water, are paying very high flood insurance premiums and yet we very rarely receive claims.

“Essentially, Michigan and other states in the Great Lakes Basin are being forced to subsidize those in other states who are prone to severe weather events. If that is what we are going to do, we should call it what it is and have a national catastrophic fund as opposed to this national flood insurance fund. In other words, let everybody pay. Why should the people in the Great Lakes Basin have to subsidize this particular program?

“A Government Accountability Office Report on this program that was published in April found that nearly 1 in 4 property owners pay subsidized rates for their flood insurance that do not reflect the full risk of flooding. You have to ask – No wonder this program is $19 Billion dollars in debt?

“And to add insult to injury, this program keeps paying claims year after year, for some Americans to continue to live in flood prone areas. That is fine if they want to live there, but I do not know why people in the Great Lakes have to keep paying for these repetitive claims year after year. That is only one percent of policies but over 25 percent of all the claims. I think it is well past time that this program either be scrapped entirely or reformed.

“My constituents in Michigan, with little risk of flooding, who have experienced little or no flooding, are funding the National Flood Insurance Program at astronomical rates. States that we see flooded year after year, and again allow people to keep building and rebuilding in a flood plain or states who keep experiencing hurricanes, are essentially using FEMA as their own personal ATM machine — I don’t think it is fair and if we are going to have a National Flood Insurance Program I think that everybody should be paying fairly. A National Catastrophic Fund would be the most fair approach to this.

“If this situation continues, Michigan and other states should consider opting out of the national program and self insuring. I have written to our governor and I hope that she considers that. In Michigan, we look down at the water – we don’t look up at the water, and we think it is very unfair that we have to keep subsidizing all of the other areas just because we live on the water as well.

“I think this program needs to be revamped – we should have a National Catastrophic fund. We have great empathy and sympathy for those who want to live in a flood prone area, but I don’t know why those that live on the shores of the Great Lakes have to be the only ones in the nation that have to subsidize this and I think it is very unfair.”

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