LIVINGSTON -- The federal government needs to formulate a means of long-stability ensure continuity of the taxpayer-funded flood insurance program, according to a state lawmaker from Livingston Parish.
The decision by FEMA creates an unfair hardship on homeowners and potential home buyers, state Sen. Dale Erdey said.
“We as citizens don’t like surprises,” he said. “Under the current situation, you don’t know if the program is here tomorrow, yet when you face the threat of a flood, it creates undue anxiety because you don’t know if the federal government will reauthorize the program.”
Erdey, R-Livingston, commented on the NFIP saga on Dec. 28, two days after the federal government’s partial shutdown prompted a moratorium by FEMA on renewals and new policies through the flood insurance program.
A means by which lawmakers can agree on a solution will pose the biggest obstacle, said Erdey, who owns and operates an insurance agency in the Town of Livingston.
“How they will achieve it is my biggest concern,” he said. “It’s hard for them to agree on many things in Washington.”
A private industry’s halt on renewal of policies or moratorium on new policies would likely result in a reprimand by the federal government, Erdey said.
“A double standard is definitely at work here,” he said. “But we put more faith in the private sector than the public sector, largely because the private sector is more stable and knows more about what it is doing.”
Erdey said he has not received calls yet from homeowners seeking to purchase private policies, but the trust of citizens in the program suffers with each temporary renewal.
A public-private partnership on the NFIP may ultimately provide more stability, but it would all depend on what would happen or if they would even be willing to meet at the bargaining table, Erdey said.
Erdey does not expect lawmakers to discontinue the program, but said an overhaul is overdue.
“As long as we have natural disasters, the government will likely keep the program intact,” he said. “But the government needs to find a way to make this an actuarial sound program, longstanding and certainly more beneficial to the public.
“The public has gotten tired of seeing this program renewed on for two months at a time,” Erdey said. “It’s time for government to figure how to reauthorize it on a long-term basis.”