Commissioner petitions FEMA to extend insurance claims filing period
Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is petitioning the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to extend the deadline for homeowners to submit flood insurance claims. The vast majority of homeowners in the state receive their flood protection from the National Flood Insurance Program and per the provisions of the program these people are required to submit proof of loss forms within 60 days after a flood. This may be a problem for homeowners, however, as many have reported needing more time to submit these forms.
Past disasters showed how difficult it can be to collect vital information in the wake of a natural disaster
In the wake of 2012’s Hurricane Isaac, homeowners and businesses that fell victim to flooding disasters reported that they needed more time to collect information for their proof of loss forms. The nature of disasters makes collecting such information quite difficult. In the case of flooding, properly assessing damages done involves finding ways to get rid of floodwaters. Homeowners that had their properties destroyed by the disaster were unable to collect vital information in the 60-day period that was allotted to them. FEMA had extended the deadline for claims submissions four times in order to accommodate victims of Hurricane Isaac.
Many homeowners still lack flood protection
Another issue that state officials have expressed is that many people are not aware that their homeowners insurance policies do not cover flood damage. Typically, flood insurance can only be acquired through the National Flood Insurance Program. There is a 30-day period before this protection can become active, so homeowners just purchasing policies cannot submit claims for damage caused before their coverage went active. In some special cases, however, coverage can work retroactively.
FEMA may choose to extend deadline for insurance claims
Louisiana was struck by floods recently, which has highlighted the issues associated with flood insurance and how claims are managed by the National Flood Insurance Program. The state hopes that an extension on the claims deadline will be extended by FEMA, as was the case in the past, but there is no information regarding whether or not the agency will do so.