Since it emerged in its current form in 1973, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has done little to meet its supposed purpose of protecting the nation from flood damage. Instead, it has encouraged development in flood-prone areas, endangered lives, and damaged the environment by suppressing rates and failing to mitigate repeatedly damaged properties in high-risk floodplain areas. Moreover, the program’s existence has impeded the emergence of private flood insurance and imposed billions of dollars in costs. As of 2010, the program was deeply in debt to the U.S. Treasury and asking for a bailout of nearly $20 billion. Partial privatization of the program would require three steps: improved flood mapping, rate changes, and a free market auction of policies within the current program.