Published on Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Data from First Street reveals large increases in rates may be necessary in some risk-prone areas.


New data about the growing risks of climate change to residential real estate suggests that the National Flood Insurance Program may have to raise its rates. <

As first reported by the <New York Times<, hundreds of thousands of homeowners could see their flood insurance rates jump as early as this fall, according to <new research from First Street Foundation. In the most flood-prone areas of the US, those rates should more than quadruple. Premium increases of more than $10,000 are necessary for the insurance on approximately 265,000 homes to match their corresponding level of risk.<

Around 5.7 million properties currently have some level of flood risk, and the capped average annual loss is $3,343 (with an average NFIP premium of $902). That accounts for a difference of $2,441 per property, and suggests, according to First Street, that the current economic risk is 3.7 times higher than the level at which NFIP is now pricing insurance.

For those 4.3 million properties with <substantial <flood risk, the capped average estimated annual loss is $4,419 and the average NFIP premium is $981<—
Areas with the biggest risk underestimates include Florida, New Jersey, and South Carolina, as well as parts of Texas, Washington, and California.

“Because a great deal of flood risks exists outside of Federal Emergency Management Agency’s designated Special Flood Hazard Areas, this research reveals a vastly expanded mapping of economic risk associated with flood risk, and demonstrates the extent to which information asymmetries on flood risk contribute to financial market asymmetries, specifically in the form of underestimations of financial and personal risk to property owners,” the report states.

FEMA, which operates the NFIP, has not publicly commented on how its new anticipated risk rating system will affect premiums.