HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) plays a key role along with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in helping individuals recover from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee. In just one month after the storms devastated Pennsylvania, the NFIP paid $34 million in insurance claims for disaster losses.
The NFIP does not wait for a full estimate of damages to begin to settle claims according to Rich Sobota, the NFIP representative in Pennsylvania.
"We want to allow people to begin to repair and rebuild as soon as we have an estimate of their damage," Sobota said. "Nobody knows until we have a final estimate how much damage there is, but 10 to 15 days after the losses are reviewed, we may be able to give a partial payment to the claimant."
In fact, $27.6 million in advance or partial payments has been made to the insured. Sobota said if the insured discovers more damage after receiving a payout on the original estimate, NFIP will increase the dollar amount for eligible losses.
The maximum grant from FEMA to cover all disaster related losses is $30,200 and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) offers low interest disaster loans, but they must be repaid. Insurance is an important part of a disaster survivors' recovery, PEMA and FEMA officials say. An NFIP policy can be purchased for as little as $129.00 a year. For more information about the NFIP and flood insurance call 1-800-427-4661 or contact your insurance company or agent. You can also get information online at www.fema.gov/business/nfip.
To register for disaster assistance with FEMA, call 1-800-621-3362 or TTY 1-800-462-7585. If you use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 1-800-621-3362. Operators are multilingual and calls are answered seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. You also can register online at www.DisasterAssistance.gov or by smart phone or tablet at m.fema.gov. If you have a disability and need help registering, please don't hesitate to contact FEMA to ask for help.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.