Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon and I discussed these issues during a Facebook Live Interview, Wednesday afternoon.
Hurricanes Katrina flooded much of Southeast Louisiana, due in part to levee breakings human errors.
According to Donelon, when Hurricane Katrina struck in 2005, Louisiana had 364,490 policies in place. That number increased over the ensuing years and grew to 490,000 in the years 2008 or 2009. Since then, due to high costs of insurances and the ability to buy them, as well as other factors, such as certain properties not being required to be flood-one protected, the number has dropped slightly.
By comparison, Florida which is the most targeted hurricane zone has over two million, Texas holding a half-million. But, on a per capita basis, Florida and Louisiana are the highest.
The city with the lowest flood insurance participation is Shreveport at 5%.
“But the most participation is in the City of New Orleans, the most affected by Katrina and a bunch of other so-called 100-year-storms, starting in 1979 and happening about every five years up to and through the Katrina catastrophe”, said Donelon. “The participation in New Orleans is 39 percent”.
Based upon flood insurance information, it appears that in Baton Rouge and Lafayette floods, impacted recently, Donelon said he is told it will be the fourth worst event experience in the history of the federal flood insurance program. Currently, Katrina ranks number one, Hurricane Sandy is second, then Tropical Storm Isaac of 2012 is 3rd followed by this year’s Baton Rouge-Lafayette floods.
While Louisiana ranks very high in terms of flood insurance policies per capita, within Baton Rouge, city limits, only 12% of the residents were insured for flood and in Lafayette, that number was 14%.
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