With Hurricane Irma thrashing Florida, many have wondered about the status of the "winter white house," Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach. It turns out they needn't worry. Any flooding damage is completely insured... by the federal government.
Mar-a-Lago is insured through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which provides affordable insurance to properties in high-risk flood zones that private insurers generally refuse to cover.
NFIP collects far less money in premiums than it pays out in damages. It covers the most at-risk properties and keeps its premiums "affordable," but critics say it mostly helps rich people who have beachfront homes. Burl Daniel, an insurance expert witness from Texas, told HuffPost:
If [NFIP] was a regular insurance company, they would have been in receivership. But it’s a political football because of the people who live on the coast.
This wouldn't be the first time Mar-a-Lago has benefited from NFIP. In 2005, Trump collected $17 million for damages after a series of storms, but then, by his own admission, he pocketed most of the money instead of using it for repairs. Now, Trump's property is once again in danger.
Shortly after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Paris Climate Accord, Democratic legislators introduced a bill to prevent Trump from receiving NFIP benefits. The bill was titled the Prohibiting Aid for Recipients Ignoring Science (PARIS) Act. Oregon Representative Earl Blumenauer said:
It would be outrageous for somebody who is denying the reality of climate, who is undercutting our ability to minimize the effects, to then turn around and be a recipient of federal largess.
The President stands to collect a lot of money, which will have to be borrowed from the U.S. Treasury, though it may or may not be used to actually repair Trump's private property. Blumenauer concluded:
We need to stop building in places where nature shows repeatedly that they’re not wanted. We need to stop making it worse, and we need to put in place programs to try and minimize damage.