Disaster Zone

National Flood Insurance Program: Facts and Figures for Florida

More data on Florida from Pew Charitable Trusts.

by Eric Holdeman / September 11, 2017

The numbers tell the story. What three states have been hit most by hurricanes Harvey and Irma? Florida, Texas and Louisiana — which are the top three states for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies. But — as we will see — not nearly enough for the number of properties impacted by flooding from these two events. See below for an update I received this morning.

From the Pew Charitable Trusts’ flood-prepared communities:

State-specific information:
• A Presidential Disaster Declaration has been declared for nine Florida counties: Charlotte, Collier [Naples], Hillsborough (including Tampa), Lee (including Fort Myers), Manatee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas and Sarasota.
o Of those nine counties, only about 14 percent of households have flood insurance.
• A Presidential Emergency Declaration that was issued prior to Irma’s landfall in Florida.
o There are 1.7 million flood insurance policies in Florida included in the Presidential Emergency Declaration.
o This is roughly 35 percent of all NFIP policies across the country and serves as an indicator of the impact of Hurricane Irma on the National Flood Insurance Program.

State/Number of NFIP policies/% of total
All 50 states/4,950,560

Texas has the second-most with more than 593,000 NFIP policies, but that’s only about 35 percent of the number of Florida policies.

Louisiana has the third-most among states with more than 491,000 NFIP policies, which is less than 30 percent of the total number of Florida policies.

Together, these three states account for more than half (57 percent) of NFIP policyholders.

• Since 2000, Florida has had 12 hurricane-related disaster declarations that have resulted in more than $6 billion in federal assistance.

• Last Friday, Gov. Scott closed all K-12 public schools, state colleges and state universities at least through today.
-School closures affect more than 3,800 schools and 2.4 million students.
-Schools in the most impacted counties will likely be closed for an extended period of time. For example, there are more than 1,300 schools and 867,000 students in the nine counties within the Florida Irma Presidential Disaster Declaration.

• Within the nine Florida counties included in the President’s Disaster Declaration, there are more than 3,100 critical facilities such as schools, police stations, fire stations and medical facilities. Hillsborough County, which is one of the nine Florida disaster declaration counties and includes Tampa, has more than 600 critical facilities. Lee County, which includes Fort Myers, has more than 300 critical facilities.

• As of 2016, there are roughly 14,000 properties that have repeatedly flooded in Florida. These are NFIP policyholders whose properties have flooded multiple times and were rebuilt, and are likely to flood again.

• Already this year, there have been 39 federal disaster declarations, of which 28 involve flooding.

Historical Comparison of Previous Tropical Systems that Impacted Florida:
• In 2016, Hurricane Matthew resulted in 16,275 paid NFIP claims that paid out more than $620 million. Nearly $21 million in federal assistance was provided to Floridians without federal flood insurance.

• In 2012, Hurricane Isaac resulted in 12,071 paid NFIP claims that paid out more than $550 million. The Presidential Disaster Declaration from Isaac resulted in more than $20 million in public assistance.

Congressional activity:
• $8 billion Hurricane Harvey relief fund bill enacted for immediate, supplemental aid to Houston-area residents. The bulk of this money will go to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Disaster Relief Fund. However, the disaster relief fund will only be sufficient through the end of the month.
• An additional $450 million is available for disaster loans to small businesses through the Small Business Association.
• Short-term reauthorization for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) passed along with the Harvey relief package. The NFIP is designed to help people living in flood-prone areas get flood insurance, and is administered by FEMA.

QUICK FACTS on the National Flood Insurance Program:

o Nationwide, more than 20,000 communities participate in the National Flood Insurance Program with over 5 million policyholders; many of whom pay below-risk rates, and those rates are subsidized by taxpayers.
o Almost everyone in a participating community of the NFIP can buy flood insurance.
o Most people who live in NFIP participating communities, including renters and condo unit owners, are eligible to purchase federally backed flood insurance.
o Congress will need to reauthorize the NFIP by Sept. 30
o The current program is $25 billion in debt to the federal Treasury.