flood insurance

FEMA has taken the unprecedented step of reopening all Superstorm Sandy flood claims because thousands of homeowners said insurance companies intentionally lowballed damage estimates.

Similar allegations surfaced in 2004 after Hurricane Isabel struck the Mid-Atlantic. To answer critics then, FEMA formalized an appeals process.

That appeals process has gone against Sandy victims almost every time, statistics show.

The House is expected to vote as early as next week to partially repeal a 2012 law that overhauled the National Flood Insurance Program, which is tens of billions of dollars in debt.

The law was meant to make people living in flood-prone areas foot more of the insurance bill. But lawmakers didn't realize how many homeowners would be affected — or how hard they'd be hit.

You can find some of those homeowners in Bayou Gauche, about 30 miles west of New Orleans.

Louisiana Department of Insurance Commissioner, Jim Donelon, talks with Jim about surviving prostate cancer, the Affordable Care Act, and flood insurance, and John S. Treen joins Jim to discuss his special election run in 1989 against former Ku Klux Klansman David Duke, and about Sen. David Vitter running for governor.


Millions of American property owners get flood insurance from the federal government, and a lot of them get a hefty discount. But over the past decade, the government has paid out huge amounts of money after floods, and the flood insurance program is deeply in the red.

Congress tried to fix that in 2012 by passing a law to raise insurance premiums. Now that move has created such uproar among property owners that Congress is trying to make the law it passed disappear.

Louisiana public officials are launching a bipartisan battle to revamp proposed changes to the National Flood Insurance Program. The administrator evaluating the objections was taken on a helicopter tour of coastal regions possibly facing steep premium hikes.

Burnet County Environmental Services Department via ProPublica

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has issued new preliminary flood maps.

Louisiana’s delegation in Washington, D.C. is griping over FEMA’s disregard of local flood protection measures when it drew them.

Meanwhile, unless Congress succeeds in passing a delay, federal flood insurance rates are set to go up dramatically as soon as October. Many in Louisiana are facing increases of 20 percent or more.

And, as ProPublica reporter Theo Meyer has found, some may end up paying for insurance they don’t need.

Read the ProPublica article: Using Outdated Data, FEMA Is Wrongly Placing Homeowners in Flood Zones

Share your story: Tell ProPublica About Flood Map Problems Where You Live

Louisianians may find solace from impending increases in flood insurance rates as Sen. Mary Landrieu’s bill to prevent those hikes heads to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration at its Thursday meeting.

Landrieu chairs the Homeland Security Subcommittee of Appropriations, which passed the bill to the larger body Tuesday.

The measures are included in the Homeland Security Appropriations bill for next fiscal year. Called the Strengthen, Modernize and Reform the National Flood Insurance Program, or SMART NFIP, the bill would postpone parts of last year’s Biggert-Waters Act.

There's a quick, one-word explanation for why the federal government started selling flood insurance: Betsy.

Hurricane Betsy, which struck the Gulf Coast in 1965, became known as billion-dollar Betsy. Homes were ruined. Water up to the roofs. People paddling around streets in boats. Massive damage.

This would be the time when you'd expect people to be pulling out their flood insurance policies. But flood insurance was hard to come by. You could get fire insurance, theft insurance, car insurance, life insurance. Not flood.