It is important to remember that insurance companies did not want to insure against hurricane damage, especially damage from flooding. They got out of the market for flood insurance.
The federal government stepped in to the vacuum in 1968 with a program, the National Flood Insurance Program, that at first filled the empty space with flood insurance policies paid for by taxpayers (although the policies were still serviced by private insurance companies but without the risk).
Since then, the NFIP has been rightly criticized for failing "to account for the full extent of flood risk, encourag[ing] development in areas know to be flood-prone and is not realistically funded." Editorial, "How Federal Flood Insurance Puts Homes at Risk" (New York Times online, posted on Thursday, August 31, 2017), also available at https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/31/opinion/flood-insurance-program-.html.
"Congress is to blame for this." True.
"Congress clearly cannot eliminate the threat that natural disasters pose to the country. But it can do a much better job reducing the risk that storms like Harvey post to life and property." Also true.
But the action likely to be taken by Congress is to pay damages claims from Harvey, not because the people affected by Harvey clearly need the help, but because the damages claims are coming only from States in which a majority of the voters voted for the party which is currently in charge of Congress.
Remember the votes and posturing of only a few years ago, especially by so-called "red" Members of Congress from the House and the Senate alike, before any claims arising out of Sandy were paid? That should never be forgotten, I think.
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