24 Jan Spike in Louisiana Flood Insurance Policies
According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the number of flood policies in Louisiana is creeping towards an all-time high. Currently, there are more than 480,000 active flood policies in the state. There’s no question that the Louisiana Flood of 2016 is behind this massive increase in federal flood insurance. Of the 35,000 new flood insurance policies, 20,000 came from Ascension, East Baton Rouge, and Livingston parishes. These parishes received the most damage during the flood. Additionally, these parishes account for more than 62,000 NFIP policies nationwide. That’s 20% of the country’s NFIP claims, and these parishes receive a third of all flood-related federal disaster assistance.Unfortunately, many of the residents that took the brunt of the 2016 flood thought they were safe from disaster.
More than 50% of the structures flooded in August were located in low and moderate risk areas. Since the chance of flooding in this area was low, residents did not think it was necessary to hold a flood insurance policy. The damage that resulted from the flooding left many uninsured residents out-of-home and out-of-funds. As a consequence of the Flood of 2016, thousands of properties were moved out of “special flood hazard areas.” Thus, making insurance policies mandatory in those areas.
A disturbing but not unexpected trend reveals that the longer we go without a major flood the less likely people are to carry a NFIP. In 2014, Louisiana was home to 472,000 active flood policies. The number of flood insurance policies dropped in 2015 to 454,000 policies. For many, the historic flooding of 2016 was a wake-up call to insure their home and possessions. However, for those who are still not insured, Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon has some words of advice, “[Flood insurance] is the best insurance investment you can make anywhere in the state… It truly is.”