Insist on Fair Rates For Flood Insurance

Devastating floods in southeastern West Virginia, Follansbee and Louisiana this summer were accompanied by a familiar refrain from both many of the victims and federal disaster relief agencies: If only more of those who lost property had been covered by flood insurance.

There are many reasons why some flood victims do not have coverage. Especially in Follansbee, those with homes and businesses outside the flood plain often see no need for the insurance.

But there is another reason — cost.

During a visit to Wheeling last week, Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., brought that subject up. He noted members of Congress will be discussing it because the current program expires next year.

A big concern about federal flood insurance in our area is premiums that were increased dramatically a few years ago. Government officials said they had to do it to cover losses resulting from big payouts to hurricane victims.

But as we pointed out, the premiums seemed disproportionately high for inland residents — and perhaps too low for those on the coasts.

It is possible, as McKinley suggested, that flood insurance will be turned over to private companies. Whatever happens, lawmakers should ensure premiums are fair and as low as possible.