The Advocate: Insurance commissioner asks FEMA to give flood victims more time to file insurance claims

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has asked FEMA to give victims of the August 2016 flood until Dec. 31 to file claims with the National Flood Insurance Program.

Last year’s catastrophe generated the fourth-highest damages in NFIP history, with about 30,000 policyholders filing claims, Donelon said in an Aug. 22 letter to David Maurstad, FEMA’s assistant administrator for federal insurance. The deadline for filing a proof of loss claim or a supplemental proof of loss claim has been extended four times and is now Sept. 1.

U.S. Sens. Bill Cassidy and John Kennedy also sent an extension request to FEMA.

As he has in previous requests for extension, Donelon asked FEMA for more time to help people who have already filed a claim but haven’t completed repairs. Frequently when those repairs are done contractors uncover additional damage, which policyholders did not include in their original claim.

“As we approach the Sept. 1 deadline … there are still thousands of victims of that flood dealing with their contractors and the challenges presented by their repair efforts in a very tight construction market,” Donelon says in the letter.

FEMA’s most recent figures show more than 29,647 claims were filed and 104 are left to process. The National Flood Insurance Program has paid $2.4 billion to policyholders, with the average payment at $88,300.

The NFIP claims payments are part of $5 billion in federal disaster assistance and low-interest disaster loans made in Louisiana since the flood. More than 83,000 households were eligible for FEMA assistance, and the agency has approved about $772 million in aid for flood survivors.

– Ted Griggs, The Advocate

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