Historic flood proving costly as insurance claims continue to mount

Historic flood proving costly as insurance claims continue to mount
Source: WAFB
Source: WAFB

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - New numbers from the state's commissioner of insurance sheds more light on the impact of recent flooding on south Louisiana.

It may not have had a name, but the historic flooding paced quite a punch.

"Absolutely it was a sneak attack if you will," said Commissioner Jim Donelon with the Department of Insurance.

So far, roughly 28,000 flood insurance claims have been filed across the state and about 30,000 are expected.

"Commissioner, I just want to make sure I understand because I have a lot of people in my district that are contact me," said state Sen. Eddie Lambert.

Donelon testified before lawmakers Thursday in a special Senate committee meeting, where he outlined just how costly the storm will be for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is on track to be the fourth most expensive storm in the agency's history, coming very close to Hurricanee Ivan.

"Ivan was in 2004 and it devastated the panhandle of Florida in Gulf Shores area," Donelon said. "This event will be just above or just below that level."

According to the NFIP, the most expensive storms include Hurrican Katrina, followed by Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Ike.

Whether the recent flood event will bump Hurricane Ivan out of the number four spot remains to be seen, but because two of the events topping the list happened in Louisiana, Donelon said it is vital that residents get covered.

"No question. We are the most benefited and it is more important to us than any other federal program for a state as a whole," Donelon added.

When it comes to advice, the commissioner said it is important to shop around and get the best deal. If residents already have a policy, he suggests reading the fine print to make sure not just the home is covered but also everything inside.

"I think it would be wise for any of us who can afford it to have full coverage for your building but also for your contents," Donelon said.

Donelon said residents with insurance concerns can call the Louisiana Department of Insurance at (800) 259-5300.

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