NOLA Hit With Flooding and Unsettling Settlement Checks

hurricane in the gulf

NOLA Hit With Flooding and Unsettling Settlement Checks

The recent flooding of several neighborhoods in New Orleans brought back painful memories to residents city-wide. Many residents compared their feelings of being trapped inside of their home due to flooding to the feelings they had during Hurricane Katrina, a Category 3 storm with 127 mph winds that affected Gulfport, New Orleans, and areas in between. According to FEMA, Katrina was the single most catastrophic natural disaster and costliest hurricane in US History.

Many residents relocated temporarily and some permanently. Today in 2017, many Katrina survivors were awaiting their flood insurance settlement checks from a 2009 lawsuit involving the East Jefferson, Lake Borgne Basin, and Orleans levee districts. In the first week of August, 125,000 settlement checks were mailed to East Bank residents and businesses for flood damage from hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Most claimants in the litigation were expected to receive checks ranging from $50 to $150 with the highest payment being $6,000.

Private insurance companies have paid an estimated $41.1 billion on 1.7 million different claims for damage to vehicles, homes, and businesses in six states. By 2007, 99% of the 1.2 million personal property claims had been settled by insurers. This flood insurance settlement check money came from insurance proceeds resulting from policies held on the levees. Many people wondered that these checks were coming about because it was an admittance of the levee construction being completely at fault. However, the money comes from insurance policies that the three levee districts held with the St. Paul Fire and Marine Insurance Co. Three separate payment funds were set up to dispense the money, based on the boundaries of the three levee districts.

However, some residents feel like they are being left devastated again 12 years later with the flood insurance settlement checks. A mother who rebuilt her life in Houston couldn’t believe the flood insurance settlement check that she received in the mail for a measly $52.82. In New Orleans, only 1 out of 8 people has flood insurance. Despite Katrina, the recent flood shed light on the fact that thousands in Louisiana are still without flood insurance and may face deep financial struggles if they do not receive coverage.

At AWS, we know all too well how important it is to be covered for damages caused by hurricanes and floods. Without a proper flood insurance coverage policy, you can be out of a home if you can’t pay for damages out-of-pocket. The real fact of the matter is, everyone needs flood insurance coverage – floods happen everywhere. Luckily, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA), dictates premiums and rates concerning flood insurance coverage by national flood maps.

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Melinda Martin

Account Executive

Melinda began her insurance career in 1985 with Alexander & Alexander where she received her Property & Casualty and Life & Health license. Since then she has worked at various agencies in the New Orleans area and in California as a senior account manager for Employee Benefit Plans.  While in California, she was also the Membership Director for the Burbank Chamber of Commerce. Melinda joined the AWS team in July of 2015.

Michael A. Seeling

Vice President

Graduated from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette with a B.A. in Insurance Risk Management and is a graduate of Archbishop Rummel High School in New Orleans. He joined AWS in October of 2008 and has been awarded the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Certification (PPACA). Additionally, he is working towards his Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), Registered Health Underwriter (RHU), and Registered Employee Benefits Consultant (REBC) designations. He is also a member of the National Association of Health Underwriters (NAHU), National Association of Insurance Financial Advisors (NAIFA), and is an active member of the Fore!Kids foundation.