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The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is insolvent and on track for bankruptcy at $24.6 billion in debt to the U.S. Treasury, The Advocate reports.
Insurance claims from the Category 4 hurricane that flooded the Gulf Coast of Texas last month haven’t even begun pouring in yet, according to Louisiana’s The Advocate.
The NFIP’s borrowing authority is capped at $30.4 billion, leaving a cushion of $5.8 billion before the program either shuts down or is restructured to cover its costs, according to a Congressional Budget Office report released Friday.
Loans from the Treasury operating like government subsidies are the only way the NFIP has managed to stay afloat, Louisiana State University finance professor Jim Boyd told The Advocate.
“Somebody’s not running this so-called insurance program correctly,” Boyd said. “That’s maybe a government bail-out, not insurance.”
More and more natural disasters are straining the program suffering from a $1.4 billion annual deficit, forcing it closer to its borrowing limit.
“I question whether the flood insurance program is going to survive,” Boyd said.