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National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP)

NFIP Flood Plain PhotoThe DNR works with communities and counties to develop and administer local floodplain management programs, coordinates the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), and assists the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Division (HSEMD) in responding to flood disasters.

What is the NFIP?
More than 550 Iowa communities currently participate in the NFIP. To participate in the program, a community must adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances meant to reduce damage from future flood events. In exchange, the NFIP makes federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters and business owners in these communities. Community participation in the NFIP is voluntary, but there are many advantages to participating.

Flood insurance is intended to provide an alternative to disaster assistance and to reduce the escalating costs of repairing damage to buildings and their contents caused by floods. Flood damage is reduced by nearly $1 billion a year nationally through communities implementing sound floodplain management requirements and property owners purchasing flood insurance. Additionally, buildings constructed in compliance with NFIP and Iowa floodplain development standards suffer approximately 80% less damage annually than those not built in compliance

In addition to providing flood insurance and reducing flood damages through floodplain management regulations, the NFIP identifies and maps the nation's floodplain. Mapping flood hazards areas creates broad-based awareness of flood hazards and provides the data needed for floodplain management programs and to actuarially rate new construction for flood insurance.

State Law (House File 759)
Iowa House File 759 (HF759) is a bill passed by the Iowa Legislature in the spring of 2009. The law ties a community's eligibility for certain post-disaster state assistance to participation in the National Flood Insurance Program.

Following a presidentially declared disaster, FEMA makes public assistance grants available to local governments. The grants may be used for clean up and repairs (e.g., assistance for debris removal, infrastructure repair, etc.). These grants usually provide only 75 percent of the cost of any post-disaster project. The state of Iowa typically contributes another 10 percent towards the required 25 percent non-federal match for public assistance grants. Effective July 1, 2011, the state of Iowa will make its contribution towards this non-federal match for public assistance grants associated with flood-related disaster declarations contingent upon the community being in good standing with the NFIP.

HF759 only affects those communities that have an existing Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) published by FEMA that identifies areas within the community that are subject to inundation by flood waters during a 1 percent chance flood event (also known as the 100-year flood). If a community is newly identified as having areas that are subject to inundation during a 1 percent chance flood event, it will have two years from the effective date of the FIRM to join the NFIP before the community loses eligibility for state matching funds.

For more information on HF759, please contact Ken Bouma at (515) 281-6907 or

Additional resources:

For more information:
If you are interested in enrolling your community in the NFIP, need assistance drafting or updating a floodplain ordinance or have general questions regarding the NFIP, HF759 or flood insurance, please contact either:

   Ken Bouma 
   Local Floodplains Program 
   (515) 281-6907

Jason Conn
Local Floodplains Program
(515) 281-4333

Street Flodding

If you need assistance with technical issues, floodplain mapping, or Letters of Map Changes (LOMC), please contact:

Bill Cappuccio
State NFIP Coordinator
(515) 281-8942