Flood insurance not reauthorized by Congress

By Theresa Schmidt - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA. (KPLC) - Congress didn't re-authorize the Federal Flood Insurance Program so it expired May 31st. That means you cannot get a policy right now and that people trying to buy property or close on a mortgage may lose out. For most others flood insurance will likely continue without a hitch

Many people in Southwest Louisiana rely on federal flood insurance-- seven thousand in Calcasieu alone. And when Congress doesn't reauthorize the federal program, as they've done before, it causes major problems for some as Louisiana Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon explains.  " Folks who are trying to purchase property with financing that requires that they have flood insurance in place lose their closing date and in some cases the right to purchase that property because their purchase agreement runs out."

Donelon says it's always eventually reauthorized and made retroactive. So he says people should go ahead and apply especially because we're in hurricane season and policies don't take effect for 30 days. "Lots of people have asked the question would we be covered by flood policies against contamination with this oil polluted water should a hurricane with storm surge force water into our homes or businesses and the answer is yes if you've had that coverage in place for more than thirty days."

Calcasieu flood plain administrator Pam Mattingly agrees people should not delay applying for flood insurance. "If they were to apply today and Congress authorizes the bill next week, then they're going to make that retroactive so they wouldn't have to wait the whole thirty days. It will be from the time they actually applied for the policy when it's effective."

As well officials say people who receive flood insurance renewal bills should go ahead and pay them without regard to the program's status since is ts sure to be reinstated and retroactive. For more information on the federal flood insurance hiatus click here.

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