Victims of the August flood who had flood insurance will likely receive more time to file their proof-of-loss claims, which help determine how much money they receive for repairs.
Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon emailed an extension request on Wednesday to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The filing deadline is May 12. An extension, if approved as expected, will give policyholders until Sept. 1 to file.
Donelon said that will mean every policyholder will have a minimum of one year from their date of loss to complete their repairs. FEMA's range of dates of loss was Aug. 9-31.
"This issue arises because a great number of those homeowners and business owners are still actively involved in the rebuilding and recovery process as a result of contractor and supplier issues that typically follow a catastrophic event …," Donelon said in the extension request.
FEMA spokesman Darrell Walker said once the agency receives the request, it will be reviewed at headquarters for a determination. The review will be expedited, he said.
Extending the deadline will give people more time to work with their supplemental claims, such as concealed damage uncovered when making repairs, Walker said. The extension won't affect the people who have already filed appeals of their original claim estimates.
As of Tuesday, the National Flood Insurance Program had received 29,597 claims and paid $2.41 billion for them, or an average of $87,748 per closed claim. Some 243 claims remain open, and some of those policyholders have received advance payments to help start with repairs.
On a standard flood insurance policy, policyholders have 60 days to send insurers complete and sworn proof-of-loss claims. FEMA has already extended the original deadline three times. The agency is expected to approve the fourth extension.
Denham Springs Mayor Gerard Landry said he doesn't think there's anybody left who had flood insurance that still needs to file an initial claim, but he's heard there are lots of people who filed appeals disputing the original damage estimates by insurance adjusters.