Louisiana’a Morganza Spillway was opened early last week by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in an effort to relieve pressure from the swelling Mississippi River. Waters coming through the spillway are expected to cause damage to crops along their way to the Atchafalaya River. However, the amount of water pouring is causing the river to overrun its banks, putting a number of schools in the area at risk of flood damage.
Many of the schools are not covered by any form of flood insurance.
Risk manager for the Terrebone school system, Jack Moore, says that 15 schools are currently at risk in the area, each of them lacking flood insurance. Overall, 27 of the 42 schools in the Terrebonne area have no coverage. Moore has been tasked with researching the cost of obtaining coverage by the school board’s Finance, Insurance and Section 16 Land Committee.
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The emergent threat of flooding from the rising waters of the Atchafalaya River lends a sense of immediacy to obtaining some form of coverage. However, flood insurance policies do not become effective until 30 days after the policy is purchased, leaving schools at risk regardless of whether decisive action is taken. Moore is expected to submit insurance quotes to the board when members convene in June.
At that time, the board is likely to consider whether schools need flood insurance or not. Members of the board have not characterized the lack of coverage as an oversight, saying that, if not for this rare event, they would have no knowledge of the situation.