Gilbert F. White
effect. Again, a number of us tried very hard to influence the way in which
the insurance administration would proceed. We tried to get them to adopt
a series of studies, to try their program on an experimental pilot basis. We
failed on that. Instead, the new administrator was committed to blanketing
the country with his activity.
Q: Do you remember the name of the administrator?
A: George Bernstein. He stayed on with some interest in that program after he
had moved out as administrator. He promptly began making large
commitments for surveys, for mapping programs, and for doing this not using
the regular federal agencies but bringing in consulting engineers. It became
a trough in which a number of engineering outfits fed. In my opinion, they
might have done much better to carry on a more modest program using, as
was first envisioned, the Corps and Geological Survey for that purpose.
When Gloria Jiminez became administrator a number of us again expressed
our concern about the way the program was going and she did hold a meeting
out here in which the views that had predominated in this Unified National
Program were once again stated. She adopted a number of those ideas which
she carried out until the end of her service. She was at the end of the Carter
Q . What kinds of changes would you like to see made in the flood insurance
A: About two years ago we here in the Natural Hazards Information Center were
instrumental in helping the Tennessee Valley Authority take the lead in
making an evaluation of what had happened in the towns in which they'd been
carrying on floodplain management for several decades. They finally worked
out a study in cooperation with FEMA [Federal Emergency Management
Agency] that is just now coming to a close. This, as far as I know, is the
most comprehensive appraisal of actual floodplain management practices that
has ever been undertaken. I think it's a shame the Corps of Engineers didn't
participate in this or do the same much earlier. They were aware of it but
they didn't find it practical to take part.
On the basis of some of those preliminary findings I would say, first, that the
insurance program has been carried out too widely, too fast, and, as a result,