ST. LOUIS — When questioned by members of Congress, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said its new update to the nation’s flood insurance program will prompt more people to sign up for coverage, even though many will pay more for it.
But in a FEMA report obtained by The Associated Press under the Freedom of Information Act, the agency estimates 1 million fewer Americans will buy flood insurance by the end of the decade — a sizable number of people at risk of catastrophic financial loss.
As climate change drives increased flood risk in many parts of the country, FEMA has updated its flood insurance program to more accurately reflect risk, but also make the program more solvent. It’s a response in part to criticism that taxpayers were funding big payouts when coastal mansions in risky locations flooded.
But nine senators from both parties expressed “serious concerns” about the new pricing system in a letter last September, after hearing that the agency’s internal numbers predicted policies would drop off by 20%. The next month FEMA told the AP those figures were “misleading” and “taken out of context” and that on the subject of how many people will be insured “there