Washington, June 14, 2001 -- A total of 25,000 flood insurance claims are expected from property owners in Texas and Louisiana communities hit by Tropical Storm Allison, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which oversees the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
FEMA officials report that telephone surveys of insurance agents in the affected areas show that 18,000 flood insurance claims have already been received and many more are expected as flood victims are able to take stock of their losses. FEMA is projecting a total of 20,000 claims in Texas and 5,000 in Louisiana, adding up to more than $350 million in flood insurance payments for Allison in these two states alone.
Howard Leikin, deputy administrator of FEMA's Federal Insurance Administration, which manages the NFIP, warned that these estimates are preliminary and may change significantly as the flood recovery proceeds.
"Victims have other priorities during the first days of a flood disaster---such as finding shelter for themselves and their families --- and it may take a while before they can get back to their homes and report their losses to their insurance agents," he said. Leikin stressed that unexpected events like Tropical Storm Allison underscore the need for flood insurance.
"Homeowner's insurance doesn't cover flood damage," Leikin explained. That's why it's so important that everyone have National Flood Insurance. It's the only type of protection that covers flood damage, and it enables people to recover much more quickly and completely than those who depend on disaster assistance, which is limited -- usually in the form of a loan that must be repaid, with interest -- and is only available following a Presidential disaster declaration."
The NFIP makes federally backed flood insurance available to homeowners, renters and business owners in communities that adopt and enforce floodplain management ordinances to reduce future flood losses by regulating new construction. Claims and operating expenses are funded by policyholder premiums, not taxpayer dollars.
Currently, more than 4.2 million flood insurance policies are in force in more than 19,000 participating communities, representing $559 billion worth of coverage. Information about flood insurance is available at http://www.fema.gov/business/nfip/ or by calling 1-800-427-9662.