March 21 2018

Hurricane Harvey: Five Key Facts Texans Must Know About NFIP Flood Claims

March 21 2018, 10:17 | Clarence Walton

Hurricane Harvey: Five Key Facts Texans Must Know About NFIP Flood Claims

Hurricane Harvey: Five Key Facts Texans Must Know About NFIP Flood Claims

Even though flooding is the most common natural disaster, most jurisdictions do not require flood insurance for properties in mapped flood zones.

"The program is taking in less than it's paying out", said Laura Lightbody, the director of a flood preparedness project at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

"It would be unfair to drop the program at the drop of a hat for the homeowners who already live in such areas", says MarketWatch. Once it hit Houston, Harvey refused to move. It has destroyed an estimated 30,000 to 40,000 homes. The top US official overseeing the National Flood Insurance Program told AP that he wants to double the number of Americans who buy flood insurance. While the government is clearly not beyond subsidizing rich people (that's what the mortgage interest deduction is all about, after all) perhaps we shouldn't use this disaster to expand the National Flood Insurance Program and its inherent subsidies, as I fear people will begin to suggest.

Many people are now asking their insurance agents if they should consider investing in flood insurance even if their home is not located in a flood zone.

Some say that Harvey emphasizes the need to insure more people against floods, not just in Houston, but across the country. There are almost 2,200 Farmers agents and 2,000 Farmers employees.

Reforming the program to force property owners who choose to live in areas ripe for flooding to bear the real costs of ownership would help shore up the program and limit development on the flood plain, ensuring that towns and cities throughout the US suffer less when waters rise. It also fails to use updated maps that detail the current geography and risks to homeowners, and generally doesn't charge enough to cover the costs of major catastrophes. "We're going to have these kind of events, the Katrinas, Harveys, Sandys, and we have to prepare ourselves for a paradigm where when we have these disasters that are catastrophic and unprecedented we have to be to be prepared to help people".

Critics counter that the 61-day presuit notice requirement is too strict, especially after extreme storms that can leave homes exposed to the elements.

It decried the "misinformation" spreading on social media about the necessity to file claims to beat the deadline before HB 1774 takes effect. Harris County, which includes Houston, has 25,000 fewer flood-insured properties than it had in 2012, an 8 percent decrease.

"There are 2.8 million residential policies in the counties on our list and 516,295 federal flood policies", Stephanie Goodman from the Texas Department of Insurance told ABC News.

Call the insurer that administers the flood insurance policy.

The massive flooding in Texas this week is renewing curiosity in a perennial topic in North Carolina: flood insurance. After that, lawmakers will need to decide where the program goes from here, and whether private insurers who previously abandoned the market should be allowed back in. She said their phone lines are burning up with calls from homeowners.

"Houston's disgusting situation is the precise argument for why the program needs to be wound down", says MarketWatch.

"There are a lot of industries in Houston so there are a lot of jobs and people, and we don't have zoning restrictions in place so you don't have the best planning - and that was one of the shortfalls", said Joel Scata with the non-profit Natural Resources Defense Council.

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