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National Flood Insurance Program

The National Flood Insurance Program aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. The program, which is regulated by the Federal Emergency management Agency (FEMA), works by providing affordable insurance to property owners, renters and businesses and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations.

The three main elements are:

    1. Hazard identification and mapping
    2. Establishing floodplain management criteria
    3. Providing flood insurance

Through the NFIP, FEMA is responsible for generating and maintaining Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs), which indicate which areas are most susceptible to flooding.

For a community to participate in the NFIP must adopt standards and regulate floodplain development to the minimum standards of the regulations as set forth in federal Regulations (Title 44 CFR Section 60).

Property owners who live in communities that do not participate in the NFIP are unable to purchase flood insurance through the NFIP. Communities that do not participate in the state may not be eligible for hazard mitigation non-disaster funds or other disaster funding streams (grants and loans).

Pennsylvania's Role

Per federal regulations [44 CFR § 60.25], the state has the responsibility of serving as the link between federal, other state, and local governments for all things related to the NFIP. 

    • Key responsibilities for the State NFIP Coordinator include:
    • Encourage and assist communities to participate in the NFIP
    • Assist communities to develop, implement, and maintain floodplain management regulations
    • Provide technical assistance to communities; and to participate in training opportunities

Proper administration and enforcement of floodplain management activities, in accordance with the NFIP requirements, is a municipality’s responsibility; the state’s NFIP Coordinator administers the program in accordance with the “Flood Plain Management Act 166 of 1978 which complies with FEMA NFIP’s regulations.  All municipalities with a FEMA identified Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) must participate in the NFIP per Chapter 2 of this act.