50 Years of the National Flood Insurance Program

A Retrospective and Prospective Assessment

Project Purpose: In collaboration with the Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) and with support from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Natural Hazards Center conducted a historical and prospective analysis to memorialize the NFIP’s most prominent impacts and to identify the most pressing issues that the program will have to address in the coming years. Retrospectively, this book examined the NFIP’s contributions to the nation’s approach to flood risk management, documented policies that have resulted from the program, and evaluated the impacts that it has had on everyday Americans. Looking forward, the book offers a brief snapshot of the program’s current goals and discuss where it might go next.

What is the Challenge? The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was founded as part of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The main objectives of the program are to reduce disaster costs, encourage owners of flood-prone property to be proactive in addressing their risks, and to discourage development in flood hazard areas throughout the United States. The year 2018 marked the 50th anniversary of the NFIP. Over more than a half century, the NFIP has had a significant influence on the American public, changing how they live, recreate in, use, and manage flood hazard areas. Transitioning into the next 50 years, the NFIP will be perhaps more important than ever from a national perspective, given the present risk that flooding poses and the future risk it presents. There is a need to reflect on this program’s legacy and is continued importance to the nation.

Principal Investigator: Lori Peek, Natural Hazards Center and Department of Sociology, University of Colorado Boulder Lori.Peek@colorado.edu

Project Lead: Nnenia Campbell, Natural Hazards Center Nnenia.Campbell@colorado.edu

Sponsor: Association of State Floodplain Managers (with funding from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency)

Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) Coordinators and Collaborators: Chad Berginnis, Executive Director, ASFPM cberginnis@floods.org and Bill Brown, Center Director, Flood Science Center, ASFPM