Panel criticizes FEMA's handling of flood insurance program

The Federal Emergency Management Agency's handling of the National Flood Insurance Program drew sharp criticism Tuesday from Senate Banking Committee members, who said FEMA has yet to implement provisions of a program overhaul enacted nearly 16 months ago.

"Regrettably, I have had experience dealing with FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program over the past two years, and given these interactions, I am very deeply concerned about FEMA's ability to handle not only flood insurance claims, but the other needs of the people affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita," Banking ranking member Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., said during a hearing.

David Maurstad, FEMA's acting Mitigation Division director and federal insurance administrator, said NFIP claims resulting from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita could exceed $22 billion, which would surpass the total amount of NFIP claims paid out since the program was created 37 years ago.

"We not only have a legal obligation to honor our commitments, but we have a moral obligation to provide the coverage we've promised to provide," Maurstad said.

But Sarbanes said many Maryland residents are still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Isabel -- which struck in 2003 -- and some have sued FEMA over their flood insurance settlements. "FEMA was clearly overwhelmed then, let alone now," Sarbanes said.

Sarbanes and Banking Economic Policy Subcommittee Chairman Jim Bunning, R-Ky., said FEMA has not implemented several provisions enacted as part of last year's NFIP reauthorization in response to problems that emerged after Isabel. One of those provisions required FEMA to establish, by Dec. 30, 2004, a process for flood insurance policyholders to appeal claims decisions.

Maurstad said FEMA is working "diligently" to implement a formal appeals process, but did not specify when it would be finished.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.