Improvements Are Still Needed in the Administration of the Flood Insurance Program

Gao ID: CED-79-58 March 22, 1979

Although 16,000 communities participated in the National Flood Insurance Program in 1978, the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) estimated that 20,000 communities are in danger of floods and should be participating in the program.

Most of the resources of FIA were directed toward the mapping program. Rate maps are used to determine the actuarial insurance rates for properties in the flood hazard area, but there were frequent complaints at the community level concerning map quality. FIA policies allowed the replacement of structures in the floodway. New construction that raises the height of the 100-year flood level by as much as one foot can cause damage to the existing structures. Using the 100-year flood plain as the single national standard, regardless of regional flooding conditions, continues to cause controversy. There is a need for more technical help, training, and communications with communities. FIA made relatively few monitoring visits to communities. There were weaknesses in the annual reporting system; for example, restricting the reporting data to the flood plain does not give an adequate picture of construction activity which could affect flooding conditions.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

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