National Flood Insurance Program Streamlining Process, in The Wake of Harvey

BEATRICE – It is a busy time for FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program, with the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, and now Hurricane Irma bearing down on Florida and the east coast.

Former Nebraska Lieutenant Governor, Legislator and Beatrice Mayor, Dave Maurstad is an Assistant Administrator, leading the National Flood Insurance Program for FEMA.  He says about 80,000 claims under the flood insurance program have been submitted so far, by policy holders in the Texas Gulf Coast area.

:35                  “and months, to come”

FEMA has taken steps under the flood insurance program to expedite initial payments to policy holders.  Maurstad says the process is being streamlined to help in the recovery process.

:30                  “to 120 days”

Most of the areas that saw damage or may be hit by Irma, are in high risk areas, where property owners are required to carry flood insurance.  Those areas are at a one-percent annual chance for a severe storm.

:38                  “currently have”

Two factors for people not purchasing flood insurance include its’ cost, and lack of willingness to pay for it.   But, Maurstad says there is a messaging issue, about the program…regarding mandatory purchase.

:32                  “from flooding”

In the Houston area, Maurstad says there are a high number of preferred-risk policies, for which people can buy flood insurance for about $500, a year.

Maurstad said it will be months before the claims and payment process has concluded in those areas affected by Harvey.   He noted last year, it took about nine months to reach a level of 90-percent claims paid, in the Baton Rouge, Louisiana area, damaged by mid-summer flooding.

:19                  “on their property”

So far, the National Flood Insurance Program has made more than $13.2 million in advance payments to insured survivors of Hurricane Harvey.

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