The state Senate is dropping a proposal to require all Iowans living in a 500 year flood plain to purchase flood insurance in order to qualify for future state assistance. Cedar Rapids Senator Rob Hogg had pushed for the mandate but says his fellow Democrats in the House were worried about the cost to homeowners.
However, he says the House has agreed to require every city or county with a flood risk to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. "The way we brought that bill came out of committee is the way I would have preferred it," Hogg said.
"But there’s nothing in this legislation that prohibits homeowners from going out and doing the responsible thing and getting flood insurance. Your house is much more likely to be flooded than it is to burn down in a fire, so homeowners need to have flood insurance."
Hogg says requiring more cities and counties to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program will allow residents to buy federal flood insurance. "We’re going to roll the dice a little bit here and hope that it doesn’t flood again before Iowans are ready. But that’s the thing where individuals need to be responsible and take it upon themselves to get insurance and learn what their flood plain maps say about their property," Hogg said.
Many of the state’s largest cities are already enrolled in the federal program, but some smaller communities have resisted because it requires them to comply with certain rainwater management practices. In addition to the cost, House Democrats cited a lack of accurate maps to require Iowans purchase insurance if the live in a flood plain.
"That was one of the problems," Hogg said. "Currently, the estimates are that out of our 983 cities, there are only about 140 cities that have reliable and up to date 100 year and 500 year flood plain maps."