Federal data indicates the number of homes in Texas with flood insurance has risen in the year since Hurricane Harvey inundated the Houston area.
The floods last August killed nearly 70 people and damaged or destroyed more than 300,000 structures. Officials say the storm caused an estimated $125 billion in damage.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, the top elected county official, says more than 100,000 flooded homes in Harris County didn’t have flood insurance. According to FEMA, 80 percent of all households affected by Harvey weren’t covered for floods.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency says flood insurance policies in Texas have jumped by 18 percent since Harvey, and by nearly 23 percent in Harris County, which includes Houston. Neighboring Fort Bend County saw a 54 percent increase.
But experts warn that the rise in homes insured likely won’t continue and that coverage in areas prone to flooding tends to drop off as residents become complacent.
FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program hopes to double the number of structures in the U.S. with flood insurance by 2022.
The NFIP was set to expire on July 31, but Congress avoided a lapse in the insurance program when the Senate voted 86-12 to extend authorization for it by four months to Nov. 30.
Hoyer reported from Washington, D.C.
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