Water Resources People and Issues
has made unwise commitments to mapping procedures, to rate structures, and
to modes of technical advice to the states and communities. It's only slowly
been able to recognize the faults and correct them in part. I think that a good
case can be made for a very minimal amount of mapping. It was believed by
the first administrators of the Federal Insurance Administration that they were
going to be confronted by a host of court cases challenging the way in which
they set rates and boundaries in flood zones. In fact, this didn't materialize.
There has been only a handful of cases, none of which has had a major
impact on the operation of the agency. The courts have held that if there
were some reasonable basis for establishing a rate or a zone, this was
Second, they are recognizing that by working through state organizations they
could proceed more efficiently and with better recognition of problems on the
ground than by trying to work through their regional offices. Much of the
sort of work they've done could have been at the very outset decentralized to
state organizations, who in turn would have reached the localities.
Third, they could have provided, and now are providing through the state
organizations, better technical advisory service, and are placing less emphasis
on rather sluggish pronouncement and enforcement of regulations as to what
local communities are to do.
Finally, they could have moved much more rapidly to establish truly actuarial
rates for all the new construction in all of the communities. If they had
started that promptly, they could have put into the local community and local
insurance companies the process of deciding when it was economically and
socially desirable for a community to permit some kind of encroachment on
Q: You're leading me into my next question, which is when do you think flood
insurance ought not to be granted at all? How can that kind of issue be
decided if people consistently build in areas that are fairly frequently flooded?
What kind of federal flood insurance ought to be given them? It `s, of course,
an old question. What's your answer?
A: The more we learn from some of these evaluations the less easy it is to give
a simple answer. But I think the original aims are still appropriate, namely,
not to give insurance for any development in the floodway however the
floodway is defined. Second, to make the rates for any new development in