Commissioner Donelon urges consumers to protect their property
with flood insurance
Released: May 1, 2007
With experts predicting another above-average hurricane season beginning June 1,
Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon is urging people to protect their home and
property against the most frequent natural disaster in Louisiana floods.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts there will be between
13 and 16 named storms, with four to six of them being major hurricanes.
Historically, flooding during hurricane season is one of the most costly natural
disasters affecting Louisiana, said Commissioner Donelon. Residents
should learn their flood risk and take steps before the next storm to protect their
home or business from potential flood damage. Remember, standard homeowners insurance
does not typically cover flood damage, he said.
Flood insurance backed by FEMAs National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) provides
Homeowners, business owners and renters with the best protection available against
flooding. Currently, more than 31 percent of households statewide have flood insurance
coverage for losses they would otherwise have to pay for themselves.
"Louisiana has one of the most vulnerable coastlines to flooding in America,"
Donelon said. "It is imperative that our residents take action to guard against
Total flood claims paid nationwide during the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons
totaled nearly $18 billion approximately $3 billion more than the NFIP had
paid out since the program began in 1978. Yet many properties located in high-risk
flood areas remain uninsured or underinsured against floods. We urge all Americans
to learn their flood risk and take steps to protect themselves, said David
Maurstad, Director of Mitigation and Federal Insurance Administrator for FEMAs
National Flood Insurance Program.
The risk of hurricanes and related flooding includes the Gulf Coast and entire Eastern
seaboard. Many scientists predict warmer waters in the Atlantic will be fuel for
stronger hurricanes over the next 15 to 20 years and storm surge can be a
major factor for coastal areas. Flood insurance covers flooding from tidal and storm
surge where other policies may not.
Although storm surge caused by hurricanes and tropical storms can wreak havoc on
coastal areas, some of the most damaging floods occur hundreds of miles from the
shoreline, days after the storms initial landfall. As hurricanes and tropical
storms move inland, torrential rains and high winds intensify the risks of flooding
by rivers and streams.
Contact your insurance agent to purchase flood insurance. National Flood Insurance
policies are available to Homeowners, renters and business owners. The average
flood insurance policy premium is around $500 a year.
Individuals can learn more about their flood risk by visiting www.ldi.state.la.us,
or calling our nationwide toll-free number, 1-800-259-5300. Residents can also visit
www.floodsmart.gov or call 1-800-427-2419 for more information about flood risk
and the benefit of purchasing a flood insurance policy.
Be Floodsmart Reduce your Risk
· Learn your flood risk. Properties that are not located in high-risk areas
can also flood. Find out your flood risk right now by entering your address at www.FloodSmart.gov
Assess Your Risk. Your insurance agent can also help you check your
· Plan for evacuation. Plan and practice a flood evacuation route, ask someone
out of state to be your family contact in an emergency, and ensure everyone
knows the contacts address and phone number.
· Move important objects and papers to a safe place. Store your valuables
where they cannot get damaged.
· Conduct a thorough home inventory. Thorough documentation of your belongings
will help you file your flood insurance claim. For more information, visit www.knowyourstuff.org.
· Build an emergency supply kit. Food, bottled water, first aid supplies,
medicines, and a battery-operated radio should be ready to go when you are. Visit
www.ready.gov for a disaster supply checklist.
· Reduce your flood risk through home improvements. Visit www.FloodSmart.gov
to learn about ways to lower your risk of sewer backup, electrical problems, basement
flooding and other flood-related issues.
· Purchase a flood insurance policy. Most homeowners insurance does not cover
floods and there may be a 30-day wait before a flood policy becomes effective. If
you already have a flood policy, remember that your policy needs to be renewed each