The National Flood Insurance Program is rolling out the Risk Rating 2.0 pricing model, potentially adding significant costs for coastal property owners and prompting homeowners to rethink where they can afford to live. The Federal Emergency Management Agency has called the move a way to address inequities within the program, but some lawmakers have pushed to delay implementation of the model.
The 11 flood deaths in New York City during Hurricane Ida occurred in areas "marked as having minimal flood hazard" per federal flood maps, which are sometimes a factor in how evacuations are conducted and how emergency response is prioritized, House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., said at a recent hearing. Deanne Criswell, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said the maps do not account for storm sewer systems and that Ida's flooding is "a sign that our infrastructure has an opportunity to be upgraded and mitigated again."
Many reinsurance leaders are showing willingness to take on more risk and to make investments to promote resilience, according to a survey by Aon. In addition, the survey shows nearly 9 in 10 respondents are predicting stronger business conditions a year from now.
At least four people, including a 4-year-old girl, were killed in flash flooding that hit parts of Alabama on Wednesday and Thursday. The flooding prompted dozens of water rescues from homes and vehicles, and it occurred as some areas received 6 to 13 inches of rain in recent days.
The growing intensity of wildfires in California highlights the need for improved evacuation plans, which are not mandated by the state but are particularly vital in rural areas with insufficient resources to respond to a major wildfire, experts say. The wildfire-planning process in such areas should be undertaken proactively "not just for fire departments, but for schools, hospitals and neighborhood networks," University of Pittsburgh professor Louise Comfort says.
Damage and economic losses from wildfires this year are expected to total between $70 billion and $90 billion, with California accounting for $45 billion to $55 billion of the losses, AccuWeather CEO Joel Myers says. That would fall short of record-breaking losses in recent years, which were elevated by factors including the value of structures damaged, the economic impact of power shut-offs and the health effects of wildfire smoke, according to AccuWeather.
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