U.S. flood insurance enforcement lax

Jan. 25, 2007 at 2:53 PM

WASHINGTON, Jan. 25 (UPI) -- Fines against U.S. banks for violating laws requiring flood insurance in high-risk flood zones rose 82 percent last year, a report said Thursday.

The $297,815 in fines from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. reflects a struggle federally regulated lenders have in complying with U.S. laws in flood-prone areas, USA Today says.

"We're still not there yet," Federal Emergency Management Agency insurance administrator David Maurstad says.

A problem is some homeowners who buy a flood insurance policy drop it later, the newspaper says.

Lenders "do a fairly good job of finding out whether someone is in a flood plain, but they don't do as good a job of tracking if you lose (flood insurance)," said Consumer Federation of America insurance Director J. Robert Hunter.

After Hurricane Katrina, the costliest hurricane in U.S. history, critics blamed sometimes lax enforcement by banks of the flood insurance rule for homeowners' inability to recoup losses.

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