Articles Posted in Flooding

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Under normal circumstances when flooding is not severe, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) requires a policyholder to send the insurer a complete, signed, and sworn-to proof of loss within sixty (60) days after the date of loss. However, when flooding is extensive, the time period may be extended by FEMA pursuant to 44 C.F.R §61.13 (d). 

For certain August, 2016 Louisiana flooding, FEMA has chosen to grant an extension because it found that properties insured by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in the State of Louisiana experienced significant flood losses as a result of a severe mid-summer storms beginning August 9, 2016 through August 31, 2016.  FEMA/NFIP further found the impact of this extensive flooding may delay the claims process for many NFIP policyholders, and NFIP policyholders may encounter difficulties filing a timely proof of loss for claims arising from this event.

Accordingly, the NFIP is allowing policyholders a total of 120 days following the date of loss to provide the completed, signed, and sworn-to proof of loss to the insurer.  For more information about the extension see the full announcement at WYO Company Bulletin W-16067.

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Louisiana homeowners who received a flood insurance payments relating to the 2016 floods may find their mortgage company’s name on flood insurance check allocated towards structural damage payment.

Mortgage companies generally require their name be placed on flood or other property damage checks that relate to the structure to make sure the property is fixed or the mortgage paid off.

The mortgage companies usually have a “Loss Draft Department” to communicate with for purposes of disbursing the funds.  Most have their own Loss Draft procedure. Some are listed online and others require you to call for information.

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On August 22, 2016, FEMA directed flood insurance claims adjusters to help local government officials in promptly identifying “Substantially Damaged” property. Specifically, FEMA stated that claims adjusters are required to submit daily reports of possible substantially damaged properties to the National Flood Insurance Program Bureau & Statistical Agent.

Substantially Damaged is a term that applies to a damaged structure in a Special Flood Hazard Area or floodplain where the cost total cost of repair is 50 percent or more than the structure’s market value before the flood occurred. For example, if the value before the flood was $250,000 and the repairs cost $130,000, the structure is “substantially damaged.” The land value is excluded from the calculation.

The decision about whether a structure is substantially damaged is made at the local government level, generally by a building inspectors, zoning administrators and other permit official that enforce the flood-plain management requirements of a community participating in the National Flood Insurance Program.

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In an effort to speed up Louisiana recovery efforts and get settlement cash into the hands of Louisiana’s Flood Insurance Policyholders, FEMA is making available early partial settlement payments even before an adjuster’s inspection.  FEMA has made changes to allow for the following:

• Homeowners can get up to $5,000 each for a policy covering their home and a policy covering their contents by signing an advance payment form.  This form can be obtained from the company servicing your policy.

•Up to half of the estimated settlement amount can be paid out if the homeowners has a copy of a contractor’s estimate and gets the property inspected by the adjuster.

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Flood cleanup can cause sickness in workers and others who come into contact with contaminated floodwater and can cause injury in those who come into contact with electrical and fire hazards.   The Occupational Safety & Health Administration warns about the hazards associated with flood cleanup work and provides some helpful tips.   The OSHA Warning For Louisiana Flood Cleanup Workers suggests the following:

  • Get a current tetanus shot;
  • Consider all public water supply unsafe until local authorities announce otherwise;
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Many residents and businesses affected by the recent Louisiana flooding in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Saint Helena, Tangipahoa Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Point Coupee, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Vermilion, Washington and West Feliciana parishes may find they do not have enough flood insurance or no flood insurance to cover their losses.

Accordingly, The Small Business Administration is preparing to provide assistance to Louisiana residents in East Baton Rouge, Livingston, Saint Helena and Tangipahoa parishes as a result of the storms and flooding beginning on August 11, 2016.

The SBA wants to provide affected Louisiana residents and businesses with access to federal disaster loans.