Floodplain management experts on changes to FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program

By Kelli Reddick
Senior Managing Consultant, Disaster Management and Mitigation + ICF Climate Center Senior Fellow
Oct 19, 2021

In this podcast, Kelli Reddick of ICF is joined by Josh Overmyer, a certified floodplain manager for a coastal county in Florida, and Eddy Bouza, deputy state floodplain manager for the State of Florida, to discuss floodplain management and changes coming to FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Full transcript below:

Kelli Reddick: Welcome to our podcast on floodplain management, where we will be talking about the latest news in the FEMA floodplain management space, which is changes to FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program through the rollout of risk rating 2.0. My name is Kelli Reddick. I'm a senior managing consultant with ICF, based out of Tallahassee, Florida. And my background is on planning and policy with a specialization in resilience planning and FEMA hazard mitigation programs. And I've also been a certified floodplain manager for seven years, working in the private consulting space.

I'm joined today by two floodplain management experts, Josh Overmyer and Eddy Bouza. And just as a reminder to all listeners, this is an open panel discussion about floodplain management, and does not represent an official determination of rules or policy. Josh and Eddy, thank you for joining. Do you want to go ahead and introduce yourselves?

Speaker introductions

Josh Overmyer: Sure. I'll go ahead. This is Josh Overmyer I'm a certified floodplain manager for the past nine years. And in that time I have worked in floodplain management, first of all, on a coastal small town on the Gulf of Mexico, then I went to the state of Florida and worked in the office that Eddy is now working in, and then I left there to go work for a coastal county, also on the Gulf of Mexico. And I serve as the chair of the Florida Floodplain Managers Association, where of course we represent the floodplain management professionals throughout the state of Florida.

Eddy Bouza: Josh—it's too bad we didn't cross paths before because it would have been great to be at the office together. My name is Eddy Bouza. I'm one of two deputy state floodplain managers at the state Floodplain Management Office in the Division of Emergency Management located out of Tallahassee. Our office prepares and reviews local floodplain management ordinances for compliance, provides Community Rating System (CRS) assistance to communities trying to get more points, technical assistance to realtors, plan reviewers, residents. And also about 80% of our office is operated under a program in FEMA's Community Assistance Program. Thanks for having me today.

FEMA risk rating 2.0

Kelli Reddick: Yeah, glad to have both of you on. So I think we can really get right to it and kind of dive into risk rating 2.0. So for listeners who haven't heard, FEMA is changing the methodology for their flood risk rating process for the National Flood Insurance Program, replacing a rating system that is over 40 years old. So it is very exciting. People in the floodplain management community have been pushing and asking for this for a long time. So Josh and Eddy, what do you guys think about the changes that are being rolled out?

Eddy Bouza: Well, I can speak to some of the things we do know and some of the things we don't know. And unfortunately, with so much information that's coming out, and coming out in a phased approach that FEMA has taken to this rolling out of the program, there's still some that we don't know how it's going to affect the property owners or the flood insurance programs. But some of the high key points are what are changing and what's not changing.

And some of the things that is not changing that might affect, say, my world in the state floodplain management office has to do with how floodplain management concepts and requirements apply. So not really a lot of changes in that area, which is good for our local floodplain managers because it doesn't mean that they need to radically change anything about what they're doing. But we might want to have some conversations about how certain procedures are done or not, certainly around the elevation certificates and some questions around that. But I'll let Josh give some of his talking points. And then we can get into some of those specifics if you want.

Josh Overmyer: Sure. And as Eddy alluded to, the National Flood Insurance Program is two different things. It's both the insurance, as the name implies, but it's also floodplain management regulations. And communities are tasked with enforcing their floodplain ordinance as a condition of having flood insurance available in their community.

And so for the day-to-day work of a floodplain manager, there's not a whole lot of difference except that now there's this insurance component that we don't understand as well as we've understood the rules, and how you make your flood insurance premiums cheaper by basically just building higher and/or building out of the special flood hazard area.

Eddy Bouza: Yeah. And interpreting an insurance manual is a tricky thing to do. And there's a reason that insurance agents get a lot of education and schooling to be able to use rate tables and use that big, thick manual to decide what premiums are. And even we don't understand it today, and it's even harder to understand if it's being overhauled and the methodology is changing.

There's a lot of sort of progressive things and things that floodplain managers have been asking for a long time to treat the flood insurance a lot more like your traditional home insurance policies, wind policies. Some of the ways you apply for it, and some of the systems you use, and sort of the ease of use is definitely a target for risk rating 2.0. And modernize some of those forms and processes and procedures.

But some things that aren't changing are things like your basic floodplain management concepts, mandatory purchase requirements, all the waiting periods are still all the same, a lot of the fees and surcharges and caps on annual rate increases are not going away.

So we really hope that the program is modernizing, more accurately reflecting risk, and that people are excited about it. We'll talk a little bit about stats, I think, at some point. But a majority of residents will see a small to maybe moderate increase depending, hopefully more accurately, on their risk.

Josh Overmyer: This is all about making sure that people are actually paying their true risk rate. Whereas previously the determination of whether you were in or out of a high-risk area was just basically a line on a map.

The new risk rating methodology

Kelli Reddick: I think we can reference the fact that the new risk rating methodology is eliminating the use of flood zones and base flood elevations from the risk calculations.

And that's one of the things that I find most interesting about all of these changes, because floodplain management is based on FEMA's flood insurance rate maps. And the NFIP is this really cool mix of policy and science. And as flooding and flood risk continues to change, I think that part of these program changes is FEMA kind of recognizing that their policies and the way that they have set up these programs cannot keep up with how quickly flood risk understanding is changing.

And so by kind of eliminating the actual flood zone determinations and elevations of property from the risk rating methodology, they're pretty much acknowledging that there's just a lot of unknowns here. And there are perhaps better ways to identify what risk is through these other catastrophe models that they have going. I think the big question is, well, what are these catastrophe models? And where can we find information on those.

Eddy Bouza: Yeah, for sure. And you made a lot of really good points there. And just because it's going away from the legacy method of using the BFE and the flood zone in or out, it doesn't mean that they're not filling that back with, hopefully, better sources of information, different sources of information, that might consider things that the firm studies don't consider, like future conditions or expected development or rainfall periods over certain return times and things like that.

So hopefully risk rating can bring some of those things into that black box so that property owners can be more informed. And I think that's the big message, is maybe we haven't been as good all along as we thought. But we're working to make it better. And we want you to work with us.

Kelli Reddick: Agreed. And I don't mean to harp on FEMA, because these changes have been a work in progress for quite a while. And FEMA does have a lot of good information on what these changes are going to look like in terms of premium increases or decreases.

And if our listeners haven't seen the articles, ASFPM, which is the Association of State Floodplain Managers, has really great articles that capture what is changing and what is staying the same with this new program. Because it is more than just the flood zone designation component and the incorporation of new catastrophe models that's changing. So Josh and Eddy, what else can we expect in terms of what's changing and what's maybe staying the same with risk rating 2.0?

What's changing and what's staying the same

Eddy Bouza: Well, there's a lot of aspects of risk rating 2.0 that are unknown, but there's also a lot of knowns. So things like statutory rate caps on increases are going to still be in place to help put homeowners on a glide path to their new actual rate. There's going to be some elimination of some programs for people who are newly mapped in and grandfathered, if you will. So homeowners will want to contact their floodplain managers or contact our office about understanding what those are. But FEMA.gov has a ton of resources as well if you just search "risk rating 2.0."

But when it comes to the structure and how it's evaluated, they're simplifying some of the diagrams that are used to probably make it easier for computers to calculate. They're using a construction material, for example, simplifying that, hey, it's either wood, masonry, or concrete. Or there's an enclosure or not. Or it's some other type of construction method, to factor that in.

So again, I think the overarching message is that hopefully some of the aspects are more simplified and easier for people to understand. And I think a space that is really valuable is how many programs are going to be available, how creative are people going to get to help fill any gaps that come from this. And wouldn't it be great if a homeowner realized a decrease in their home's value because of a new rating methodology.

Can they click a button somewhere and apply to a program that will help fill that gap, not necessarily a gap insurance kind of thing, but hey, maybe there's grant money that can be out there that says, we realize this might impact your financial well-being. Or maybe you're retired or you're in a fixed-income situation or in a different socioeconomic status. We want to help you adjust for this because it's going to inform those future owners. And those are going to be reflected. But we don't want to necessarily hurt the people today.

But unfortunately, over time, data has shown that 25% to 30% of flood losses have been in areas that FEMA's flood insurance rate maps called area of low risk, the X zones. So people don't carry flood insurance. And those are the most catastrophic losses when you don't carry flood insurance. Because especially after disaster situations, there's only programs that can do so much for uninsured. And they're not nearly what's capable of replacing during flood insurance loss or claim when you do have a policy.

Kelli Reddick: Yeah, Eddy, you brought up so many good points. And I think it's really interesting, especially given where we are now, post-COVID, where there's a lot of homeowner assistance funding available now. Do we foresee a future where that shifts into homeowner assistance that is based on increasing flood insurance premiums? What a world.

Eddy Bouza: Yeah, and ideally maybe even focusing more toward those acquisitions and preservation of that as open space so that we can restore those natural and beneficial functions of that floodplain.

Kelli Reddick: Mm-hmm. I kind of want to go back to the idea that we kind of started with—and I think, Josh, you framed it really well—where the NFIP is two things. It's floodplain management and, I mean, really, development and ordinances, and how do you manage development in a way that doesn't harm the floodplain. And then the other piece of it is the risk and the flood insurance premiums.

So do we foresee any potential changes? Or what are additional things that practicing floodplain managers should think about given this change in the risk rating system and how that might play into how they regulate development and do their day-to-day jobs?

How will changes impact floodplain managers?

Josh Overmyer: Yeah, so I'm not really sure how to answer that. If we could see into the black box that is the CAT model and everything that the new rates are going to be based on, maybe then it's prudent for the communities to adopt higher regulatory standards that are more in keeping with those higher rates because of the higher risk. And of course then we have homes that are being built that are less impacted by the potential flooding aspect, but then are paying less flood insurance because they're at a lower risk.

Eddy Bouza: Yeah. And I just reiterate the day-to-day life of, say, a local floodplain manager that's tasked with the responsibility of administering and enforcing the local flood protection ordinance isn't really going to change that much. In the risk rating 2.0 system, we did talk about how it's sort of eliminating the base flood elevation, comparing that to an elevation certificate, for example. The elevation certificate has been a tool that the insurance industry has used to evaluate risk and plug numbers into formulas to find out differences in elevation between different points of the building or aspects of the building. And in risk rating 2.0, that goes away.

Now, that's not to say that local floodplain managers still won't be getting elevation certificates and that professional land surveyors won't still be filling them out. Because it is really the most effective tool to get the building official the information that they need. And one sort of interesting fact about the building code and the elevation certificate itself is the Florida building code, for example, which is based on the international codes, the they require the elevation information to be provided to the official prior to vertical construction after placement of the lowest floor.

But notice it doesn't say FEMA's OMB form O-80 or whatever it actually is. So it's not actually a requirement to fill it out for regulatory purposes. But it's so good at informing the plan reviewer or the billing official or the FPA about what's needed to say that it's a compliant construction. And we've actually seen some communities are looking into their ordinances and how they can specify that specific form or communities that are sort of adopting FEMA's elevation certificate form with their logo or information and saying here's the form we want you to use, just because it makes our processes smoother.

So we may see some of that in some of the ordinances and programs that are really focusing in on how are they getting what they need being that the insurance company is not going to need this certificate anymore. Because that was a mechanism to create it. And then it was easy to get to them. And now it may be viewed as an additional Who knows. So let's not let that get away from us either.

Josh Overmyer: As Eddy mentioned, the FEMA form for the elevation certificate is not actually required in most situations. But for over 1,500 communities that participate in the community rating system, that actually is a requirement. It's one of the prerequisites to participate in the community rating system and get those discounts for their flood insurance policyholders.

And so that will still be in place for, as I mentioned, over 1,500 communities. And in those communities, I believe that's well over 70% of all the policies in the nation. And so that's something that will still be collected and will still be maintained and provided to the public when requested because those are requirements of the community rating system. Something related to the community rating system that I wanted to mention in respect to Kelly's question there was it probably would behoove the local floodplain managers to reach out to and sort of get a formal working relationship with their local flood insurance experts.

There is credit available in activity 370 for flood insurance promotion. And that even includes just getting technical assistance from a flood insurance expert. And so having even just a memorandum of understanding that, when flood insurance questions come into my office, I know the guy or the lady in town that is happy to answer flood insurance questions and give people the information that's relevant to their situation, whereas me, the floodplain manager, I'm not really sure how all of that works, especially now, with the new methodology that's going to be going in place.

Eddy Bouza: Yeah. And I know it's kind of crazy to say, but you're the floodplain manager. How do you not know what the effects on the National Flood Insurance Program are going to be? Isn't it in your title? But there are so many disconnects between the way the flood insurance manual treat certain things and how the regulations read. So floodplain managers are very cognizant of this sort of invisible disconnect between the insurance side of things and the regulatory side of things. And I thought those were really good points.

And back to the CRS, they're also really hot on certificate management. They have recently amended their manual with an addendum that awards points and even has a prerequisite to achieve a certain class for you to have an elevation certificate. They actually call it Certificate Management Program or Plan. Because that includes elevation certificates, V zone design certificates, and other types of certificates that the program uses. So they're giving more points for that and making that part of advancing in the program to have good records in your certificate.

Benefits of joining the CRS

Kelli Reddick: Yeah, and while we're on the topic of the CRS, one of the things that I really commend FEMA on for kind of thinking of this, whether it was intentional or not, is that previously, when communities were joining the CRS, benefits of communities joining the CRS and then policyholders experiencing a benefit or a decrease on their flood insurance premiums, previously that only applied to policies in the special flood hazard area. And now, with these risk rating 2.0 changes and really eliminating the special flood hazard area as a critical factor in premiums, then really these benefits for communities joining the CRS should impact all policyholders and not just those who have a policy and are also in the floodplain.

Josh Overmyer: CRS discounts previously were awarded differently whether you were in the special flood hazard area or if you were in the X zone. A preferred risk policy does not qualify, did not qualify, will not qualify. And once this new risk rating 2.0 rolls out, then there is no more preferred risk policy. There's not a preferred risk that will be paid. The discounts in the special flood hazard area increase anywhere from 5%, 10%, 15%, all the way up to 45% for participating communities that reach each individual class level.

In the nonspecial flood hazard area, the X zone—I guess, historically, maybe that was even the B or C zone—discounts were either 5% or 10%, depending on the level of participation in CRS for that community. And I'm not seeing the chart. But I believe it was 5% if the community was a class 9, 8, or 7. And then at class 6, it jumped to a 10% discount, whereas the folks in the special flood hazard area, at that point, we're getting 20%, 25% at class 5, and so on. So I just wanted to point that out.

Eddy Bouza: Yeah, and those homeowners that are in the X zones will benefit from those discounts like you mentioned. There's another aspect of how the program is being rolled out that can also-- homeowners need to also understand. You mentioned preferred risk policies. Basically, at the time of this recording, by the time this probably comes out, preferred risk is not going to be a thing anymore. Because remember, any new policies that are going to be rated after October 1 are going to be under the new methodology, the risk rating 2.0.

But there's a 30-day waiting period. So unless you get your flood insurance policy before September 1, by the time that policy is going to go into effect, it's going to be risk rating 2.0. So if you didn't get your flood insurance already, then you might miss out on a year or two of a preferred risk.

Kelli Reddick: That's a really good plug, Eddy. Thanks for bringing that up. So while we're talking about the rollout of risk rating 2.0 and the new rating system taking place October 1, the real date, I think—and correct me if I'm wrong on this. So after October 1, existing policyholders who need to renew can still use their legacy rating program if it's cheaper, for at least the next year, I think, until April 1, 2022, right?

Josh Overmyer: Correct.

Eddy Bouza: I believe that's correct, yeah.

Kelli Reddick: So we kind of have this phased rollout, where really not everyone might be affected by this new rating system until April of next year, which is really right around the corner once you think about it.

Expected changes to flood insurance policies across the nation

Kelli Reddick: But let's look at some of these statistics. So FEMA has released a lot of really cool statistics on expected changes to flood insurance policies across the nation. And if you go to FEMA's website, they actually have a neat little fact sheet for every state. And then you can download data at the county and the ZIP code level. And you can look at policy counts and percentages to see how this new risk rating methodology either increases or decreases existing premiums.

So just to throw out a couple of statistics, and then I think it would be really cool to kind of dig into what we really think this means. So FEMA estimates that 23% of existing policies will likely experience reductions, but more than 3.8 million policies will likely see rates increase. But just 4% of all of the flood insurance policies across the US are going to experience hikes over $240 a year.

Now, this doesn't sound too terrible on the national level. But some states will be affected differently. And if you kind of break things down by state, you can see that states like Hawaii, Texas, Mississippi, West Virginia, Florida, and Louisiana will all have 80% or more of their existing policies increase under the new methodology. And then you have other places like the Virgin Islands, Washington, DC, Michigan, Maryland, see a significant decrease in premiums.

So my hunch on this is that this is where some of those unknowns come in in terms of those catastrophe models and how this methodology—I don't want to say "is applied," but really I guess it is how it's applied. Because Washington, D.C. is vulnerable to flooding, Michigan is currently trying to get a handle on how higher lake levels will impact their floodplain and their infrastructure, and how that might impact future policies.

What this means in terms of rollout and who's going to be affected

Josh Overmyer: Yeah, so I think it's pretty interesting to see that, among those five states you mentioned that are going to have policy premiums go up, you've got both inland and coastal states, West Virginia as well as the Hawaii, Texas, Mississippi, Florida, Louisiana. So it's not just a coastal issue. This is something that's going to affect policyholders throughout the nation.

Eddy Bouza: Yeah. And you've got to think that the rating method, if the premiums are increasing, then they were at more risk than we thought. So there is an aspect of maybe some equalization of equity in action, like they like to say. An interesting study was done in our state where we analyzed the flood zones of properties that are seaward of what Florida calls the coastal construction control volume. And you would think anything seaward of this line is V zone, it's high-impact, wave-driven action that's going to damage homes. And we found that 10% of the land seaward of that line is in an X zone or in an A zone.

And so you have this situation where you might have a person that's right on the beach, or close to the beach, or across the street from the beach in the current methodology that's paying an X zone policy when you've got a person that's behind them in AE zone because there's a river that drains into the ocean or there's a tributary nearby, and they're in the floodplain of that river. And they're paying more than this person that's on the beach that's facing storm surge and facing rising seas and all this.

So I think and I hope the plan was, and is, and always was developed to be that. Unfortunately, these are at more risk, and that's why they're seeing increases, but the majority of people are only going to see low to moderate. But we'll see how it shakes out as that phase-out occurs. Which, that's another thing that you've got to know your flood insurance agent or find a friend that knows one. Because there's just so many different aspects of what they apply. There could be changes in maps during your renewal period or during getting a new policy that may become effective or not effective yet. So there's just a lot of situations where they're applying.

But I do think the message is that, at least until April 1, in most all situations, the rates are going to reflect what most benefits the homeowner, whichever methodology. But put a little asterisk next to that because I'm not an insurance agent.

Kelli Reddick: Nice disclaimer in there.

Josh Overmyer: I think it's important also to point out that 23% of policy premiums will be going down. There will be some kind of decrease in the amount being paid by the folks who currently have flood insurance policies in place. And so that's a reflection of acknowledging that you're actually paying too much right now. Your flood risk is lower than previously thought or previously understood. And so that's going to be a huge thing for folks. I believe some of those decreases are something like $1000 a year if I remember right from our conference this year. And so that's huge. That's money back into the pockets of policyholders and homeowners throughout the nation.

Eddy Bouza: And how many of those homeowners do you think are speaking up because they think it's unfair. Probably none, right?

So it's the people that are going to see increases that are going to go to their community official or their representative or their senator. And we have seen where there are people in legislative bodies that are bringing up legislation on this, and trying to protect their constituents and their residents' well-beings and their insurance premiums, to try to rein in the program.

Kelli Reddick: That's really interesting you bring that up, Eddy. So I mean, can you give an example?

What kinds of legislation are we seeing in response?

Eddy Bouza: I believe there's at least—and when I say introducing a bill, we got to remember the legislative process. It's not your Schoolhouse Rocks, it's just automatically happening. But we've seen some reps filing bills that include language that would require Congress's approval to change the rating structure. That's not something that I'm actively tracking. So I can't speak to where that is or who brought it up or who's supporting it. You may have states that are looking at similar initiatives. Or may have legislation that says don't do it. So again, not something that I'm super honed in on, but we do catch some of those clips as they come.

Josh Overmyer: Sure. And you've got to also remember that we're in an era where the National Flood Insurance Program has been continued, I guess is maybe the best way to put it, through a period of temporary authorizations. So we've been in this process since—I believe it was 2017, when the Biggert-Waters Act and the Homeowners with Flood Insurance Affordability Act, those two bills in conjunction from 2012 and 2014, those authorizations for the National Flood Insurance Program to even exist expired in September of 2017.

And so as our elected officials have changed throughout that past—I guess we're looking at four years now, and a couple of different presidential cycles in there as well, we're waiting on the program as a whole to be reauthorized and give us some stability in understanding how the program operates, how it's going to be funded, things like that. So yes, there are bills specific to the risk rating 2.0 and whether or not FEMA can do this unilaterally from Congress, as well as what Congress's responsibility is to the National Flood Insurance Program to keep an operating.

Eddy Bouza: I think it's a good opportunity to plug that the association, the ASFPM, the Association of State Floodplain Managers, if you're in the world of floodplain management or you're a certified floodplain manager and you're not a member, join. Because one of the benefits of membership is access to articles about these things, up-to-date policy briefings, and just a lot of good resources for floodplain managers to stay up on a lot of this stuff coming from the association.

Kelli Reddick: Yeah, absolutely. That's actually where I get most of my information. ASFPM has really lovely and informational materials on all this stuff. They really stay on top of things. It's great.

What’s going on with policies in Florida?

So we talked a little bit about Florida. And Eddy, you mentioned the analysis that the state undertook where you're looking at the coastal construction control line and floodplains that are seaward of that line. So I was looking a little bit into how Florida shakes out with this. Because Florida—and I know you know the statistic like the back of your hand. But Florida has something like 30% of all policies in the US. And so it's not super surprising that Florida is among the top that are set to experience a pretty high percentage of their premiums will be increased.

But I was surprised, digging into the Florida statistics, that 20% of policies are going to see decreases as well. Now, this is kind of all over the place. So again, what are those catastrophe models saying? What is it about Volusia, Walton, Liberty, Marion, and Bay County that warrant a decrease in their policies? But I guess how do we feel about how Florida shook out with all these stats?

Eddy Bouza: Well, I think you got to kind of look at it from a proportional perspective as well. So you mentioned about 30% of the policies in the NFIP come from Florida. Florida is what, the third largest state by population. So that's not surprising if Florida is seeing a number of increases. But also think about how much coastline there is. So 1,000, 1,100 miles of coastline. And when you do think areas of high risk, I mean, the V zones are called areas of high risk. They're your coastal communities and coastlines.

So it is what it is. I think the overarching theme, again, is low to moderate change. But the policy data that comes out of Florida and contributing about 30% of the premiums and not collecting that much in claims—not quoting any statistics or anything. The claims data is very guarded. But a significantly smaller portion of the claim payouts in the NFIP go to Florida policies. And I think that's a real testament to Florida's building code initiative that started in the early '90s and has been continued. And basing on the ICC codes and even developing a stronger building code that may even go above and beyond that. And how our local floodplain managers are administering their programs. And they really know a lot about floodplain management when it comes to how to permit it. What the rules are and the regulations to apply so that those structures are better protected.

FEMA has this program out there right now. And I can't remember exactly what it's called—Code Awareness or Know Your Code—where you can go and search and see if your community enforces building codes. And you would be amazed at how many parts of the country don't have any building codes in place. And the Florida building code is mandatory everywhere. So we're already doing a really good job there.

Kelli Reddick: So what I'm hearing from both of you in terms of what floodplain management practitioners can be doing right now to help prepare for this rollout to understand more about it, and to also be able to help property owners who are trying to find more information, is to really build your network, find resources in the insurance field that can really help you communicate these changes and help individual policy holders understand what their changes mean for them.

Other resources or organizations to recommend to practitioners

Eddy Bouza: Well, I can steal his thunder if he wants, and you can let him do the plug. But the Florida Floodplain Managers Association have this amazing training program. If you're not a member, become a member. Take advantage of those courses. They're doing a great job standing up all kinds of education, from introduction to floodplain management all the way to advanced courses and updates in the world. And being connected into those groups is really going to get a lot of information out and traction.

And some of Florida Floodplain Managers Association's strategic goals include working with other states and other organizations and making that program even more robust so that somebody in Oregon that wants to learn about Florida can join, and maybe the Oregon association gets a discount like our members get a discount or FFMA's members get a discount. So that's a tremendous resource.

Josh Overmyer: Well, and since Eddy stole my thunder on FFMA, I'll also plug that the state floodplain management office in every state stays on top of these things. Just as you can see Eddy's well versed in this information, he's got compatriots in all 50 states and other US territories. And so your state or territory or commonwealth floodplain management office will have information for you as well.

Kelli Reddick: Excellent I always forget about those commonwealths in the U.S. Well, thank you so much, both of you, for the discussion. And I think, if there was one more thing that we would want to leave listeners with, it's to keep an eye out for funding that helps reduce flood risk. Because that does have benefits for communities that participate in the CRS. It benefits individual property owners. We'll just have to see how that rolls out in terms of their premiums.

But there is a lot of funding available right now for resilience for floodplain management. In particular, FEMA has their Flood Mitigation Assistance Program. There's $160 million available nationwide specifically to address flood risk at NFIP-insured properties, with a prioritization on severe repetitive loss properties and repetitive loss properties as identified by the NFIP. And those application cycles should be opening up on September 30. So just be aware that there's funding out there that's available to help you make sure that you're mitigating your risk on a community level as well.

Eddy Bouza: And I'll add that there's also state funding opportunities. I know that ASFPM recently polled members about whether their states had specific mitigation funding. So they might be putting out some kind of list like that in the future. And states might have different agencies offering grants, whether that's the natural resources, environmental protection, it could be economic opportunity.

So I think it's getting increasingly important to really target the best grants for what your particular project is. And identifying those funding sources ahead of time in a mitigation plan or a strategy. Staying plugged in to your local and state officials can put you in a good position to identify those programs. And really making sure that they're the right fit for what you're trying to achieve.

Summing it up

Kelli Reddick: Thanks for joining. I really enjoyed this discussion.

Eddy Bouza: Thanks for having us, Kelli.

Josh Overmyer: Yeah, thank you Kelli. And if I could, I'm just going to give a plug here for the Association of State Floodplain Managers annual conference. The Florida chapter, the Florida Floodplain Managers Association, will be hosting on May 15 through 19, 2022, at the Caribe Royale in Orlando. So if you go to floods.org and sign up for the conference, we'd love to see you there. Come hang out with us. And probably over 1,500 floodplain management professionals throughout the nation will be there. And even, usually, some international floodplain management folks from the UK and Australia too.

So it's a great time. I've been to, I think, six of those conferences. Love every single one of them. And it'll be a great time to share, swap stories, and learn from your other floodplain management professionals throughout the nation.

I haven't had the pleasure of being at an ASFPM conference, but I have been to the FFMA conferences that are Florida-specific. So I'm really looking forward to taking advantage of that national conference being so close to home this year. And I hope to see you all there. And we'll finally get to meet in person.

Kelli Reddick: Thank you guys.

Meet the author
  1. Kelli Reddick, Senior Managing Consultant, Disaster Management and Mitigation + ICF Climate Center Senior Fellow

    Kelli is a hazard mitigation and resilience planning expert with a special focus on FEMA floodplain management and Hazard Mitigation Assistance program implementation. View bio

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