Beach Erosion Would Be Covered by Expanding Flood Insurance

WASHINGTON, DC – Recently, Congressman Greg Murphy, M.D., alongside Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-ME), introduced the ‘Prevent Environmental Hazards Act’ to give homeowners, insured by the National Flood Insurance Program, greater flexibility to manage natural disasters.

“Homeowners should not be forced to wait for their home to cause an environmental hazard before the National Flood Insurance Program is implemented,” said Congressman Greg Murphy, M.D. “As many in our coastal communities understand, ocean currents and weather systems are unpredictable. As an example, beach erosion in Rodanthe, NC has destroyed six properties in the last four years, causing massive environmental and personal hazards before the homeowners were able to receive National Flood Insurance compensation. Proactive planning will better serve eligible beneficiaries, improve public safety, save taxpayer dollars, and protect the surrounding environment.”


A growing number of buildings, initially compliant with state and local regulations, face imminent collapse due to property erosion. Property owners often wait for a collapse during a flood to claim through the National Flood Insurance Program, which doesn’t cover long-term erosion or advance collapse payments. This delay causes public health, safety, and environmental issues from debris and pollutants, leading to hazardous cleanups.

Shoreline erosion damages are excluded from standard homeowners’ insurance, and National Flood Insurance Program only covers flood damages, leaving ambiguity in claims if a collapse occurs post-flood. Existing mitigation programs to address threatened homes are slow and inaccessible to homeowners.

This proposed legislation does the following:

  • Authorizes flood insurance payouts for structures condemned due to chronic erosion or unusual flooding.

  • Allows advance payouts for demolition or relocation: up to 40 percent of the home’s value or $250,000.

  • Limits payouts to 40 percent if owners neglect to act before a collapse.

  • Reduces confusion in attributing damage to specific floods.

  • Encourages proactive demolition or relocation to prevent collapses and reduce cleanup costs.