It's time to start preparing for the next Hurricane Harvey

Friday, 01 Sep, 2017

Mr. Ellis said claims of even 15 percent of insured value from Harvey would total a $10.5 billion loss for the flood insurance program.

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Many around the country, including the Santa Maria Valley, are now reviewing personal insurance policies in the aftermath of the devastating flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey in southeast Texas. When asking for cost estimates especially, these should always be written.

Some lawyers and lawmakers say residents should file a claim by Friday to ensure they would get higher penalty rates from insurance companies, if they were to file a lawsuit.

Texans, some of whom are only now getting pulled out of Harvey's floodwaters, will face the impact of the bill if they find themselves suing their insurers. As was the case following Superstorm Sandy in 2012, commercial insurance claims are expected to comprise an outsized portion of overall covered losses from the storm, as flood - rather than wind - has been a driver of damage.

Congress appears eager to approve federal aid for the victims of Hurricane Harvey, but it could have a tougher time as it races an end-of-September deadline to renew the National Flood Insurance Program, which is already $25 billion in debt thanks to past storms.

The NFIP, the primary underwriter of flood insurance in the United States, was established in 1968 to mitigate flood risk through flood zone mapping and to provide affordable flood insurance for at-risk properties.

Amanda Farmer, a Farmers Insurance agent in East Memphis, said Hurricane Harvey's wrath should be a red flag for homeowners about the importance of flood coverage. Additionally, lenders might require it for borrowers deemed at risk of flooding who don't live in designated areas for high flood risk.

Robert Hunter, insurance director with the Consumer Federation of America, also wants Congress to disclose to current and prospective homeowners the difference between the home's current premium and a rate that reflects the full risk of the property.

Abbott said homeowners should not worry about filing claims before the new law takes effect Friday. For that, you need separate coverage from the federally run National Flood Insurance Program. In the following days and weeks, it will be critically important for out-of-state adjusters to work in Texas to ensure that insurance claims are evaluated and paid in a timely manner.

As an oil and gas center and the fourth-largest US city, the impact on Houston will be large and ripple out to the broad USA economy, but estimates will take time to calculate.

If there's no lawsuit, nothing's any different under the new law. Some people might be really surprised by how low-priced it is and really don't know until you get a quote on it.