Before Harvey, big drop in flood coverage

Dealing with the damage Tips for filing insurance claims after Harvey

Dealing with the damage Tips for filing insurance claims after Harvey

What's more, the law authorizing the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP, is set to expire on September 30, meaning lawmakers must vote to extend it even as they debate bills to raise the nation's $20 trillion national-debt limit and approve new spending to avoid a government shutdown.

Whatever the NFIP reauthorization bill ultimately looks like, Colten believes the country's latest natural disaster could ultimately result in a better system, which would ultimately be good for Louisiana and other flood-prone areas.

"Now you know what it's like".

The new law reduces the penalty insurance companies face for delaying, denying or underpaying claims, moves storm insurance litigation to federal court and makes it hard for plaintiffs' attorneys to recover their fees. The remnants of Hurricane Harvey sent devastating floods pouring into Houston Sunday as rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground.

Schumer said he will push for reforms that protect policyholders from high premiums and fraud, which repeatedly occurred in the wake of Sandy. States increasingly turned to the federal government for disaster relief.

Lynne McChristian, spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry organization, said that Florida homeowner insurance rates shouldn't be affected for one simple reason: rates are set at the state level and are based on what happens within the state.

While consumer groups and news outlets in Texas have recommended that homeowners buy flood insurance in recent years, not many have. During a massive Texas flood in May 2016, Micky and George Hartz found their Magnolia neighborhood under six feet of water, with their home taking in some of that.

He said that by reducing the penalty insurance companies face if they owe damages, the new law will do less to deter companies from acting in bad faith.

But after a catastrophic storm like Harvey, it's instantly clear why flood insurance is crucial even for lower-risk properties. The update placed about 8,000 new homeowners into the Special Flood Hazard Area, which made them eligible for temporary discounts on flood insurance. Very few of them are likely to have flood insurance.

The NFIP has another problem, in that the maps it uses to determine the areas most at risk of flooding are out of date.

Perhaps if floods of the severity of Harvey did come around every 500 years, that's a risk worth taking, in the name of another worthy public policy goal of creating more housing stock.

That would make it one of the costliest storms in history for USA insurers, but could ultimately help insurers and reinsurers to raise rates, some analysts said, after a period of low premiums. "Three or four years later, we're back to where we started".

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