Legislators are pushing the Federal Emergency Management Agency to give more help to co-op owners.
Residents typically cannot buy flood insurance to fully cover items such as cabinets, major appliances and floors because of the legal structure of co-ops, where residents do not own their living space. In that case, any common property repairs not covered by insurance or grants may need to be covered out of co-ops' funds or through extra charges that shouldered by residents, on top of the cost of repairing their own units.
FEMA, which administers the National Flood Insurance Program, the nation's primary flood insurance provider, acknowledges that co-ops could face significant financial shortfalls. If a co-op building valued at $10 million were declared a total loss after a natural disaster, and had the maximum $250,000 in flood insurance, "there would be a huge exposure there that would not be covered," an agency spokesman said. But the federal law governing the flood insurance program imposes the limits, the spokesman said.