CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As part of the disaster response to September’s Hurricane Ivan flooding in West Virginia, $7,738,745 has been paid so far in claims through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), federal and state officials announced.
The flood insurance payments are in addition to aid for temporary housing and other needs provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the state of West Virginia.Those separate assistance streams now total nearly $15 million.
To date, 1,128 Hurricane Ivan-related flood insurance claims have been filed, with 453 of those cases closed, the officials added. NFIP continues processing the remaining claims. Flood insurance policies are sold on behalf of NFIP by commercial insurance companies in communities that participate in the federal flood insurance program.
“Flood insurance is the primary form of assistance when storms occur,” said Lou Botta, federal coordinating officer for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “Under NFIP, we aim to pay claims promptly and responsively, so that people can get on with restoring their homes and businesses.”
At this point, in the Ohio Valley Hurricane Ivan disaster area, the counties with the highest number of flood insurance claims are: Ohio, 577; Brooke, 146; Wetzel, 125; Marshall, 69, and Hancock, 46.
With four presidentially-declared weather disasters in West Virginia in the past 12 months, federal and state officials urge homeowners, tenants and business owners who may not have flood insurance to consider purchasing it. NFIP makes flood insurance available in communities that develop and maintain flood hazard management plans. All of West Virginia’s counties and practically all of its municipalities are participating in NFIP.
Flood insurance is mandatory in designated special flood hazard areas (flood plains). Outside such areas, however, residents are still well-advised to consider flood insurance. Flood hazards shown on Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) are based on the best information available when the maps were prepared. The fact that a flood hasn’t occurred within memory doesn’t mean one won’t happen soon. Approximately 25 percent of the NFIP’s claims come from outside high-flood-risk areas.
“With 30,000 miles of streams in West Virginia, we have a substantial risk of flood damage outside of mapped flood areas,” said Robert L. Perry, the state’s NFIP program coordinator. “The NFIP’s Preferred Risk Policy can offer protection for as little as $112 a year for structures in those areas.”
On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.