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Biggert-Waters 2012 is a comprehensive piece of legislation affecting the National Flood Insurance Program. The biggest piece of legislation included in this reform act is that the NFIP’s authority has been extended until 2017. As the law is implemented, some of the changes have already occurred, and others will be implemented in the coming months. Key provisions of the legislation will require the NFIP to raise rates to reflect true flood risk, make the program more financially stable, and change how Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) updates impact policyholders. It is important to remember that there will be many changes to the program in the coming months and even years. These changes will make it vitally important to stay informed.


  • Approximately 5.5 million flood insurance policies are provided through the National Flood Insurance Program and administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • FEMA sets pricing for NFIP flood insurance policies. This means premiums and rates are identical regardless of agent or insurance carrier.
  • Premiums for many properties have been subsidized since the program’s inception.
  • Since 1978, the NFIP has paid out over $40 billion dollars in claims.


  • The intent of the NFIP was for the program to be self-supporting, meaning premiums would cover the amount of claims paid and administrative costs.
  • However, substantial claims associated with recent flooding events such as Superstorm Sandy and Hurricanes Katrina and Ike required the NFIP to borrow additional funds from the U.S. Treasury, resulting in billions of dollars of debt for the NFIP.
  • The primary goal of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act is to make the NFIP more financially sound.


  • Subsidized rates are being phased out. If your property’s flood insurance rate is considered subsidized, you will more than likely have a new premium.

Gulfshore Insurance has gathered together FAQs, fact sheets, and other resources that detail the impact the Act and the NFIP reforms may have:

FEMA Fact Sheet: Impact of NFIP Changes
Homeowners Guide to Elevation Certificates
Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012: Questions and Answers

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