BATON ROUGE, La. – Specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are reaching out to Louisiana Hurricane Isaac survivors who have specific questions about their flood insurance claims or about new regulations that may affect how they rebuild.
At recent public meetings in Plaquemines and St. John parishes, FEMA experts in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) addressed some of survivors’ general concerns about insurance and rebuilding. FEMA administers the NFIP, which makes flood insurance policies available through local insurance companies throughout Louisiana.
The NFIP experts are also participating in workshops in Plaquemines Parish to answer the same kinds of questions from policyholders.
Since the public meetings, the NFIP specialists are contacting survivors who submitted specific questions in writing. Based on those conversations, the specialists are researching the policyholder’s claim or concern, and then offering to meet with the person at a Disaster Recovery Center to provide an in-depth response.
“We understand that survivors in hard-hit parishes have some difficult decisions ahead and we want to help them make those decisions based on the best available information,” said Federal Coordinating Officer Gerard M. Stolar of FEMA. “In some cases, it’s just a matter of clarifying what FEMA can or cannot do for them by law.”
For some survivors, the NFIP specialists are simply letting them know why they need to submit a list of the property that was destroyed in the flooding or how their loss is settled. For others, specialists are researching building codes that apply to current flood maps, and the requirements policyholders may have to follow when they rebuild. In other cases, the specialists are offering recommendations to help the survivors make decisions.
“We suggest homeowners use information provided by our insurance specialists to make the best decision when rebuilding their homes,” said Brian Bartley, leader of FEMA’s Hazard Mitigation Insurance Task Force. “They should take into consideration the possibility of a higher cost of insurance if they decide to rebuild based on current flood maps, as those maps are set to change.”
Bartley said his team also encourages survivors to stay in touch with their insurance agents and keep the lines of communication open. “The agent will be their adviser once FEMA’s direct role in Hurricane Isaac recovery is complete,” he said.
Any policyholder with questions about flood insurance or concerns about their claims may speak to an NFIP specialist using FEMA’s Hurricane Isaac Flood Insurance Call Center. The toll-free number is 1-866-331-1679. Help is available from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday. Additional information is available at www.floodsmart.gov.
For more information on Louisiana disaster recovery, click www.fema.gov/disaster/4080 or www.gohsep.la.gov. You can follow FEMA on Twitter at www.twitter.com/femaregion6 or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/FEMA. Also visit our blog at www.fema.gov/blog.