Friday marked the introduction of new in-force FIRMs for New Orleans that were approved earlier in 2016. Because of Katrina and the politics around the creation of the new FIRMs, this was national news. The New York Times had a piece on it in, we here blogged about it, and it was even discussed on All Things Considered on Friday (yes – that is what I sound like). Rarely does FEMA generate such fanfare without a catastrophe actually happening.
But, what do the new FIRMs mean for the NFIP and the vast majority of homeowners exposed to flood risk in southern Louisiana? Hopefully, not the same as what the new FIRMs meant to Baton Rouge and Lafayette. They also got new FIRMs this year, and here is a sampling of what it has meant to them: a look from the California Water Blog at how the floods matched the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), a close look from The Weather Channel at the immediate impact on the uninsured, and how FEMA is paying out for damages (i.e. “claims” in normal insurance parlance) without collecting any premium.
And what do the new FIRMs mean to private flood insurers? Nothing – they don’t (or shouldn’t) use them.