Sen. Schumer Calls to Refund Flood Insurance Program

Sen. Schumer Calls to Refund Flood Insurance Program

"For most Americans and most Louisianans, their largest single investment is their home, and that needs to be protected, and you can't do it with just homeowner's insurance", Kennedy said. Unfortunately for homeowners the worst is not even over yet, for weather forecasters predict that the Harvey, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, could dump an extra 50 inches of water on parts of Texas on Tuesday. After paying out claims for Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the NFIP is $25 billion in debt.

Much of Harvey's price tag will come from stricken homeowners looking to rebuild after the storm's gale-force winds and torrential rains subside.

Following historic flooding in Texas from Hurricane Harvey, Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens wants to remind Georgians that a flood policy can be a valuable addition to standard homeowners' coverage.

The National Flood Insurance Program's authorization is due to expire September 30- which is also the deadline for Congress to pass a new government funding extension. Typical homeowner's policies don't cover flood damage at all, Hunter says.

HUNTER: And you can still file a claim, but it's much more hard and much less likely that you have a lawyer that wants to do it because of the risk of not getting paid.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Once they've made their way through flooded streets and found shelter somewhere, a lot of people in the Houston area will have to begin to assess how much their homes have been damaged.

However the NFIP reinsurance program could be one area that reinsurers see a program totally wiped out, according to Fitch. That is roughly half of all properties - residential and commercial - in that area. This flood insurance in the USA is mostly handled by an outdated, heavily debt-laden government scheme, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Because of that, it's best to purchase the insurance before a storm or flood is a threat to a home. "You'll have two loans on your house".

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JAIME BOTELLO: I don't have the insurance for the flood. If the water rushes through the floorboard or walls, you are not covered. With little more than a month before expiration, it may be a tall order to rewrite the national program while losses from Harvey are still coming in. The Cypress River, which runs through downtown Houston, is expected to rise 4 feet higher than the record 94.3 feet (28.7 meters) set in 1949, according to Air Worldwide, a risk modeling firm. During flooding in Louisiana previous year, for example, the agency extended its normal 30-day renewal grace period to 120 days for those in affected areas. Failure to reauthorize the program would cause delays in the payment of claims for Harvey and end the issuance of flood insurance nationwide.

The program, which is scheduled to expire next month, owes nearly $25 billion to the U.S. Treasury.

For homeowners facing big bills, some banks may be willing to help.

Additional borrowing to fund the program will require approval from Congress.

"This Congress, is interested in getting America growing again", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

People in high risk zones, including beach front property can expect to pay thousands of dollars per year for flood insurance.

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