tv Washington Journal Roy Wright Discusses the National Flood Insurance... CSPAN September 3, 2017 8:02am-8:47am EDT
education would have done, which is to help all kids, regardless of ideology. host: the president of the american federation of teachers, our guest this week on c-span's "newsmakers." you can listen to it online at any time on c-span.org. check out the free c-span radio app. "newsmakers," follows 7:00ington journal," at for those on the coast. a city submerged. roy wright is with fema, thank you for being with us. as you look at this picture, and we are getting account the less than 20% of the residents in harris county have flood insurance. what does this mean for the program? guest: i think there's an immediate need related to texas in the eastern coastline. we watched this continue to move
up through louisiana. the first posture fema takes in one of these disasters is understand we have survivors who don't have insurance. but they aredon't, all survivors that require assistance from us. and we talkons about this more broadly for folks across the country that can make that active decision to buy insurance, but they we look at those who do and those who don't. if you have a flood insurance policy and you're in one of these affected areas, adjusters are already on the ground and are going to be working to pay that claim. for those that don't have insurance, being there to help them as well and working with volunteer communities. you will see folks register for disaster assistance.gov after this morning. more than 500,000 families have registered for assistance from fema. more than a half-million. that registration happens
whether or not you have insurance. for some people, the assistance e is will get ther temporary -- housing solutions, immediate medical needs, transportation needs. then there will be two roads, those who have insurance will have resources to rebuild their house paid to them through that claim. those without insurance, we're going to be there to help them as well. they will most likely be looking at alone or reliance on the nonprofit community. host: to be clear, what fema is able to provide for those who do not have flood insurance of be assistance, but no way would cover the full extent of your losses. yes.: i will give you an example, we had a large event in north carolina in 2015 on the average amount of individual assistance under the stafford act average about $4200. the average flood insurance claim in south carolina was nearly $50,000. last year we had a very large
event play out in louisiana in the month of august, the inland flooding event sometimes referred to as the storm that didn't have a name. the average for individual assistance was almost $9,000. the average flood insurance $86,000.yed out you get a sense of scale in terms of the kind of help that is there. that's just direct assistance from the federal government through fema's authorities. so much is also wrapped around that insurance through the volunteer communities and the donations many people are making even today. host: let's put on the screen information about the national flood insurance program. congress needs to reauthorize it when lawmakers return on tuesday and the deadline is the end of september. right now, that flood insurance program is nearly $25 billion in debt because private insurance companies have realized they cannot make money off these flood insurance programs. you mention some numbers. let's put a couple of those on
the table. if you live in a high flood zone area, i've been told he will pay approximately $1500 a year in flood insurance. if you live in an area that might have a flood but not in a high flood zone area, your insurance rate for the flood insurance program is about $500. is that enough to sustain the program? guest: in part. let's look at -- look at the book of businesses i have. have 5 million policies and normals 80% of those are actually priced. people are paying with commensurate for the risk and of sufficient for the program to function. by law, a little over 20% of our policies receive discounts. and those discounts are particularly for homes that were constructed prior to the late 70's that are in harms way. piecesok at that, those -- those pieces really focus us
on those who have discounts, and when people say can the program continue, it is that dimension. but let's be clear, if you are in louisiana, that flood insurance rate map discount still has you paying an average premium of $2500. if you are in new jersey, the discounted price is $4200. they are still significantly paying less than their risk. , because iat my book have one side of it that does mirror the practices of the private markets. we have the discounted part that is true because congress has directed us to give those discounts. reaction me get your to this editorial from the "washington post," looking at the national flood insurance program, elegant in theory, the plan gradually succumbed to real estate interest with the result that flood insurance enabled rather than managed development along coasts and other flood
prone areas, ultimately putting more people and property risk that might otherwise have been the case. as it happens, well-to-do people benefit disproportionately from this program. they are the ones who tend to build big house on the beach. the national flood insurance program has spent many millions of dollars repair properties that have been repeatedly flooded. fair criticism? guest: there are elements of that i think resonates. let's break a little of this apart. on the higher end of the real estate, we only offer $250,000 worth of coverage, so while we do ensure structures and homes along the coastline, we only provide that first $250,000. let's step back with a bit of history. this program was created 49 1960, because the private market had left. if you can bear with me for a
little bit of that history, you read the reports from 1966, reports to congress that were these out by lbj and committee reports that played on the hill and they presumed if we told people they were risk, they would move. they presumed that over the life of the program, the discounts wouldn't need to be continued, and they presumed they would need to be continued because once people knew they had a risk, they would move out. that has not proven true. so where do we sit today? there is an upside. there are 22,000 communities that participate in the national flood insurance program. 90% of the u.s. population live in cities that participate in the program and they have to adopt land-use standards related to future construction. we are limiting that future risk. there's much more that has to happen on that side.
there are many americans who purchased homes or renters who live in homes and they are driven by what's affordable for them. host: our guest is one of the point persons for fema and the national flood insurance program , roy wright will be with us for the next 40 minutes. and wene lines are open are dividing lines regionally, if you live in the eastern half of the country, call (202) 748-8000. for mountain pacific, call (202) 748-8001. if you live in texas or louisiana, especially along the gulf coast, we would love to hear from you. call (202) 748-8002. for texas and louisiana residents, call (202) 748-8002. caller: good morning. i used to have flood insurance, i live in tampa. as i recall, the reason i got out of it was because of the cost. recall, flood insurance is
not a panacea. if you are in a storm and you flood and let's say you live on a quarter acre, i believe flood insurance does not kick in unless there's a two-acre area that gets flooded. you may have flood insurance, but you still have to meet that standard. is that correct? host: do you remember what you paid in flood insurance before you dropped the program? approximately? caller: the bill was getting upwards of $500 or more. host: a year. caller: right. guest: the definition of the standard flood insurance policy is two acres or more, were two adjacent structures. that's what constitutes a flood that would be covered in the program. so private insurance covers wind damage, fires and other type of crises that would not cover flood. across the nation, your
conventional or standard homeowners policy covers exactly that during focuses on fire, wind and other kinds of damages. flood is in every state in this country explicitly a separate policy or a separate writer. market, may private be about 100,000 policies across the nation and we will talk more about that as we see more growth in that price market as we seek to meet the needs of more people need this covered. but the private market since there and in every instance, when you are purchasing a home or working with your agents related to your homeowners insurance, they should be offering you flood coverage, you should be seeking that out, particularly if you are at high risk. host: is climate change a factor in the severity of these storms? guest: i live the kind of horizon over the last 25 years and we are absolutely a cycle in which we are seeing more of these storms are it we look at the intensity of the storms and
i'm not going to all step away from that reality. but we have had historically had hurricanes over the entire life of this nation, across all those who lived here in north america over the prior centuries. we look at the fact that we are seeing more intense storms, we are seeing them play out with a bit more frequency. and those elements are all true. from an insurance perspective, we focus on the risk as it exists today, because that's what you should pay for your premiums. from a land-use perspective, we focus on your risk as it exists tomorrow. is serving ast the deputy associate administrator for insurance and , as you cant fema tell from that smart shirt is wearing today. margaret is joining us from grand island, nebraska. good morning. caller: good morning.
i have a question regarding the involvement of the state of texas itself in the recovery and flood that is affecting all of the people in houston and texas. what is the state's involvement -- the state of texas alone? what is their involvement in the harvey recovery in the flood? host: thank you, margaret. guest: i think it's an important question. when our system of emergency management is designed here in the united states, the state and the governor are in charge. fema stands ready to support the governor and the state's request. you see people like myself with fema shirts on, particularly in weeks like this, but all that is done at the request and guidance of the governor, the president appointed a federal court meeting officer, and he is down there in texas working hand in glove with the governor and
emergency management in texas. it really becomes a partnership, in terms of how we deliver the recovery and particularly, as we deal with the response elements in front of us today. host: randy joining us in williamsburg, virginia. good morning. caller: good morning, america. i'm sorry for all of these challenges our fellow citizens in texas are facing -- are suffering right now. we've had a number of issues here in virginia, whether it be flooding or earthquakes or the where public infrastructure, especially schools and the children are affected tremendously. mobile fitness facilities and i travel around to schools and neighborhoods to provide health education and morale programming.
i've been trying is a small business to work with fema locally in the state of virginia and i've had zero luck. , i'm aen to 1200 schools cdc published program, and when i see these children stuck in the shelters and see very little being done to accommodate their ,ealth, education, and morale in a business like mine candidate -- can't get any work, i'm really frustrated. -- not tohildren mention their schools, are completely gone and we are worried about where and how we're going to educate these kids. whether it be an earthquake or a flood or what have you, we need response for these children. this is one of the reasons why don't my business. host: thank you, randy. -- one of the reasons why i built my business. host: thank you, randy. guest: he highlights the need,
especially after events like this one. we all focus on how you help children, in terms of the dramatic effect can have on them . you brought this out and related to education. when the schools stand up, recovery begins. you look at the parents who need to get back to work and begin to regenerate their own lives. you saw it with attention even with the president who was down in texas yesterday, secretary of because ofith them this important point related to education and our children as we move forward into recovery. host: here's what the president said yesterday in houston as part of c-span's coverage. [video clip] president trump: things are working out well, people appreciate what has been done. we are very happy with the way everything is going. there's a lot of love.
they were just happy. it's been really nice. it's been a wonderful thing. as tough as this was, it's been a wonderful thing. i think even for the country to watch and for the world to watch. it's been beautiful. have a good time, everybody. they are really happy with what's going on. it's been very well received. even my you guys, has been well received. [inaudible] president trump: there's a lot of water. but it's leaving it quickly. but there's a lot of water. but it's moving out. importantly, the governor and the relationship with the governor and the mayor and everybody has been fantastic. and with the federal government. and we are signing a lot of documents now to get money.
$7.9 million. we signed it and now it's going through a very quick -- hopefully quick process. >> how are the kids doing? president trump: they're doing great. they are doing really good. host: the president yesterday in houston, texas, all of his available at c-span.org. we are joined by roy wright with fema. cut to the flood map program could trigger insurance rate hikes. what is the story all about? guest: it is focused on the president's 2018 buzzer proposal, there were a number of things included in that related to flood insurance, one of those elements wanted to shift the funding related to how we map the risk for flood here and across the united states. over the last 15 years, that price has been split between
policyholders enter general appropriation, and there was a proposal to do some shifts in terms of that great most importantly, it highlights -- we've seen this debate in the piece that ran -- the flood risk in this nation continues to ,volve and grow, and as it does we need to ensure people understand that risk. so that investment is there. there's one that congress and this administration and the prior administrations have invested in over the last 15 years, and i'm sure will continue. when congress comes back, lawmakers into reauthorize the flood insurance graham by the end of september. what does that mean? guest: like many government programs, there time arises by which congress must act again. on program is set to expire september 30, the end of this month in 2017.
so the senate banking committee has been working on this for more than a year. i testified a whole host of hearings on this. in many ways i will tell you they are focused on the right items, they have the right things in front of them, and now they need to act. it's one of a number of bills that congress needs to take up in terms of a must pass perspective this month. how exactly they choose to do that, i will lead to congressional leaders. i will say i am confident that congress will provide us the enduring authority so we can support those in texas and louisiana and provide this opportunity in this program across the nation. host: with recent weather events, courtesy of fema and claims paid out, let's look at the numbers. from last year, the flooding in louisiana, $2.4 billion. hurricane sandy along the jersey coast, $8.5 billion.
hurricane irene in 2011, $1.3 billion. 2008, $2.7ke in billion, and katrina back in 2005, 16 $.3 billion. any estimate -- $16.3 billion. any estimate what taxes will be facing? have 67,000 claims that have been filed so far, six days after a cat for landfall and they've had two sunny days in the houston area. the numbers going to continue to go up. i'm not ready to pagan exact number, this is going to be something north of sandy. i don't view katrina is the let'slimit on this, but see where it goes. the waters are still receiving and we need to get homeowners back so we can begin to file these claims. host: you list out those event.
you look at katrina and sandy. guest: these of these coastal events in as many people across the country are watching this morning, let's hone in on the louisiana event. that was in baton rouge, and it became the third largest event that we have played out in that context. last year was the third largest payout across the nation. we focus on $2.4 billion in louisiana. $4.2 billion was paid out in 2016. host: the initial aid package for the president asking congress to allocate 7.8 billion dollars, lawmakers expected to act on that tuesday or wednesday. live coverage of the house on c-span and live coverage of the senate on c-span two. we're talking with roy wright from fema who oversees the flood insurance programming. good morning, chris. caller: good morning. ahave a question about gentleman who called earlier,
and the answer you had to have your houses next door had to flood too. we live at the bottom of the hill and some years ago i had 7.5 inches of rain. bad. basement flooded i did not have flood insurance and now you are telling me -- i took it out after, but now you are telling me that actually i am paying for it for nothing? the guy at the top of the hill isn't going to flood. but if another occurrence happens, i will flooded. host: did your insurance providing assistance as result of the flood? caller: no, because i didn't have flood insurance at the time. guest: let me highlight the two different directions. there are the two adjacent
structures, think of that more of suburban and urban contexts, and the very small amount of acreage. if there is flooding that is caused because of precipitation that has been falling down, you're going to be covered. for you, if you have questions, follow back up with your insurance agent. and make sure you have confidence that when an event plays out, this flooding event would occur. you look at the adjacent pieces if someone has something that is just about their own home and it was about a choice that they made, that's where the policy differences. but generally speaking, by the time you're dealing with rain falling from the sky is causing your flood or storm surge this coming in if you were in a coastal area, the policy is going to cover it. host: let's go to marry in new orleans. caller: good morning.
my heart goes out to the houstonians, i know what they're going through. i've been having dreams all over again about katrina. does theestion is, millions of dollars in donations this going to the state of texas toect on what fema provides the residence there? guest: you had an important point. as americans, we respond to emergencies really is a family. and there's a role of the government plays. arevoluntary organizations central to this. elegant works of the american red cross is doing, where 40,000 people were in a shelter last night and they have more than 2400 workers themselves down in that area. the southern baptists, hundreds of their disaster relief will feed tens of thousands of people
this weekend and so we look holistically at this. thosetner with them, so voluntary organizations, even learn more about them at nvoad.org, are working hand in glove with us. fema plays a role in other federal agencies play a role, the army corps of engineers has been involved, the housing and urban development government is involved. the military has been involved in helping us facilitate and move pieces down. and then there are those voluntary organizations, all of that comes together, the voluntary organizations, donations that are made do not have an impact on the federal resources that are going. instead, their work is something that comes together. host: is there anything congress could do would that would
incentivize private insurers to take up flood insurance again? a number of are steps we are taking and as we have worked with committees, i talked extensively about this in one of my hearings -- we need to -- there's a couple of small technical issues that congress is focused on to ensure that the private insurance is recognized and if someone goes to a private insurer for their flood coverage, for some reason was to lose that coverage, they could come back into the national flood insurance program. i think those are fundamental and important. we need to create an appetite for this. i look at those discounted ones, 21% of my policies -- the private market will not take those. you are going with those price of the top of the show, those that are in the low to medium hazard area, where those $500,es are $300 to absolutely a place where the private market can be.
by look at some of the other ones that are actuarially priced and absolutely a place where the private market can be. -- ithe private market has have a mandate to provide the insurance. they have to balance the risk. so high concentrations of policies from one company in a given area is too risky for them, from a financial basis. there's another element of the private market that we are using -- for the first time this year, national flood insurance program bought reinsurance. congress position 2012 and pushed even harder in the statute in 2014 to direct us to do this. programhe first federal e's likehe gss freddy and family to buy reinsurance. about $150remium of million and if an event is larger than a billion dollars, it will help pay about $1
billion of the claims. that's an important way where we are leveraging private capital in addition to the federal program. host: our topic, the flood insurance program and fema. our guest is roy wright and our next caller is from michigan. william, thank you for waiting. caller: good morning. my heart goes out to those people in texas and louisiana. i want to switch it up a little bit and i would like to speak about the causes of some of this happening,d what's if you look at that -- i heard the gentlemen, your guest referred to the private market about 20, 30 times. i think the causes of the flooding and the hurricanes in -- it really turns down to the buildings of
cementing over everything, the subdivisions, there is no drainage. if you move into the other areas , it's the same thing. cement. --refore, the national natural flow of the waters and rivers and streams and creeks, whatever, they have no natural place to go. host: thank you for the call. that issue has come up, also the clay soil that is so prominentrt along the developments. guest: the caller gets to a central issue related to how we build across this country. i want to be clear -- how land is underped and zoning the 10th amendment of the constitution, the responsibility of state and calories. the federal government doesn't have a direct role in that i would strongly suggest we don't.
and we know the way those buildings are cited makes a fundamental difference. we talk about how maps change and i will interact with someone in the community who says how can this be? it's never flooded at my house before? why did my map change to say i'm at risk? in many instances, it has to do with other building the took .lace across that watershed we like it when we have the big-box store a in our community or adjacent communities, the one that large building comes in and a large parking lot is put there, we take away that space where the water had an opportunity to now, the parking lot, that asphalt, that concrete is a slip and slide it. that water has to convey as opposed to absorb. so we look forward over the next decade, yes, i want to ensure that more people have the coverage for flood, so they can
withstand these events and rebound more quickly. and states and local communities need to be asking fundamental questions about how they cite that development. they need to be thinking forward related to their risk. you look at how the watershed plays and you can cite that to the north of town or south of town. you should find out where the flood risk is going to be greatest and avoid that area , whether the subdivision or retail establishments. taxes, goodis from morning. exas, goodrom t morning. caller: i have a couple of questions. discuss -- a lot of people on the west side of houston who were not flooded prior to the release of the two reservoirs, and then when i
started releasing water from the lake that flooded. what is the responsibility of fema for people who were flooded as a result of the dams not being kept up-to-date with some of them being built back in the 70's? guest: i'm going to defer to my friends of the army corps of engineers who operate on the specifics of those structures and how they were operating. let's talk more broadly. there are flood controlled ,eservoirs across the country and their operation plans related to them. for securely because you don't want them compromised in a way that they would break open. both of these reservoirs were designed to have is water flow over under certain circumstances and we are dealing with an event well in excess of what we would show as a high hazard zone. it reinforces the point that you
should not just focus on the map , and he was in the mandatory area if you have a federal evacuation notice, but those who are adjacent to it. i look at harris county. we ensure more structures of the national flood insurance program in harris county, texas than any other county in the united states. the closest comparison is miami-dade. i have more policies they are, but i'm dealing with condos. from a structural perspective, what is striking to me in harris county is the understanding that many people did have their flood risk. policieshose 250,000 are outside of the highest hazard areas. those were people who chose to have that coverage, they have a preferred risk policy. as you highlighted, i wish more of them had insurance this morning. i wish we were able to provide more in those spaces. but i think it's important for
folks in the texas coastline to know, as well as those who are in flooding areas across the country -- you don't have to be inside that high hazard zone to buy, and it may be one of the most prudent backtalk investments a homeowner can make. congress mandate flood insurance in those areas and require you to have it? guest: if you are inside a high hazard zone shown on the maps, by law, if you have a federally backed mortgage, you must have insurance. are penalties, particularly on the bank, if they don't have those in place. i don't know that i would a point where we have to go to a mandate from the federal government from that perspective today, but i have talked with some state insurance commissioners about what would be some leapfrog actions in the country. say aslean forward and we get into the broader area,
there's a mandate to offer that insurance, so homeowner can make that decision? host: you can follow fema on twitter @fema. caller: everything i'm hearing so far sounds very reactive, and i understand just a minute ago, he said that the way that texas develops its land is entirely up to the state. fema would have to engage for disaster relief and recovery, if it might not make more sense to think about how to present -- prevent this kind of flooding in the way that the dutch do. guest: i appreciate this from the caller. we have been focused on the flood insurance side of the situation, but there's a beautiful fabric that was woven together 49 years ago when
congress created the national flood insurance program. first of all, there has to be an understanding and backing of the risk. icondly, communities -- mentioned earlier, more than 22,000 communities, almost 98% of the nation's population are in communities who adopt ordinances to say now that we development will be built at least as high as that flood area. in the community must adopt that ordinance if they are going to participate in the national flood insurance program. if they don't adopt that ordinance, flood insurance is not available in their communities. on those maps, we can do some forward-looking pieces, but we are looking at what the fundamentals are, related to flood defenses, you reference the dutch, but also what we do -- we see these kind of
repetitive lost structures. we keep flooding that same structure. we've been looking to congress on the extreme end of that where i would like some additional authorities. but across the nation, fema has under $3 billion worth of structures, forward 50 foreign andhose -- $50 million of the structures are in texas alone. we do need to get in front of some resilience requires home by home actions, neighborhood by neighborhood actions, and then some communitywide ones as well. you are still dealing with a $25 billion deficit when it comes to the flood insurance program. for more information on all of these issues, you can go on to the fema website and flood smart.gov has more issues -- more info.
john in quincy, massachusetts. good morning. caller: i would like to discuss some of the housing stock is much older in my area, secret have a situation where a person or family has had the property quite a long time and they don't have a mortgage and are not required to have flood insurance. if they still have to buy it in order to protect the asset. for $2000dfathered in worth of policy. if they let it lapse, the new homeowner or relative they are passing forward to would have to pay over $4000. in fact, it's kind of like a de facto requirement that you have it just protect the asset. guest: i think he highlights a couple of important points related to the housing stock in the nation. i live in a home built in 1925. many of us live in homes that were built before the 70's.
the new construction can be certain standards. we have so much housing to talk about the country needs to be addressed. there are differences in pricing , the caller highlights one of these differentials at the point-of-sale that was in effect in 2012 and most of that was in theback by congress 2014 legislation may put through. host: the last call is from scranton, pennsylvania. neil, good morning. good morning. i want to address the issue of price gouging. there were stories they were charging $50 for a case of water. what is the difference -- there are shortages and they are charging obscene prices and they are going after this people. what's the difference between that and the gas prices? asst: i will tell you that much nation focuses on how we help folks after disaster, their untoward actors who try to
exploit this. at the forefront of this and we are working actively with the state of texas and the consumer protection elements of the texas attorney general's office. i have some of these things play out just in the flood insurance space, with robo collars trying to extort money out of people. we jump on that immediately. trying to actually do that price gouging, we need to walk away from that and put a spotlight on it, and get it back where it belongs. we need to let the private , they use the operations got much better distribution than anybody else does. but we should see conforming prices in the process. host: hurricane irma is building up strength and could potentially hit the u.s. mainland, maybe in florida, but it's far too early to determine if it will hit and its strength.
my question is, is another hurricane harvey like storm hits the u.s. of the season, is fema prepared for it? guest: we are. there's a dedicated team looking at armor right now, and we've already pre-positioned resources in puerto rico and the virgin islands as we look at the storm tracks. the regional administrators across the atlantic coast, southeast states and the atlantic, all the way up in new york and new jersey and potentially into new england, are doing the planning that is necessary for those events. i will note that september 1 is the midpoint of this hurricane season. , and ourcused on irma laser focused on delivering for the folks in texas and louisiana as it pertains to harvey. we have many more weeks to go and i think there are some folks who are even in those states,
looking for the opportunities to make sure they have the right kind of it -- of insurance in place. there's a 30 day waiting period for that policy to go into effect, the choices made this week and would provide protection for people who experience these kind of flooding events in october. host: a lot of great information and insight from roy wright, the deputy administrator at fema. michael evans will be joining us to tell about the health impact and up next, robert gallucci is an expert on north korea. he will be joining us just a moment as north korea confirms it has successfully tested a hydrogen bomb. but first, spokane, washington as we travel on c-span cities tour, the home of being crosby. famous for way chris -- for
white christmas and other famous songs. check it out online at itiestour, or on c-span3's american history tv. here's a preview. [video clip] won world war ii breaks out, being crosby is absolutely the major celebrity in the country. in to thely jumped work of rallying american morale. after pearl harbor, morale was shaken a bit because nobody had expected this sudden plunge. ing immediately put together a schedule appearances at training bases all over the country, and he did that throughout the war. franceeled to europe and
, this is him on the stage in france. was if a guy idea like being crosby -- it wasn't him on the radio, i see him in the movies, i love what he does. and he's here with us, it was a tremendous boost for morale. after the war, the army decorated him for his contribution to the war. here's a picture of general patton with him in france. and dinah shore. spokane, washington on c-span cities tour all we can on this labor day holiday. is this afternoon on c-span twos book tv as we look back at bing crosby and c-span threes american history tv online anytime and