how high is too high

Terrebonne couple raises their home too high for flood insurance

from the WWL – TV website

Donald and April Tomlin’s home in Montegut was not damaged by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and they had no insurance claims to worry about, so they were quite surprised by a letter they received from their insurance company.

The Tomlin’s built their home over federal flood standards in 2004. FEMA told them to elevate it to nine feet, but that could be too high for their insurance company, who says it exposes too much liability.

“We received a notification after the hurricane that our insurance was going to be cancelled and they wouldn’t give us a reason,” said Donald Tomlin.

It turned out that their company, Lexington Insurance, stopped issuing homeowner’s policies south of the Inter-coastal Canal unless the home was worth more than $500,000.

“They said we had to go through Louisiana Citizen’s for coverage.”

Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance is a state-sponsored insurance program of last resort.

“Before Katrina, our insurance was approximately $1,800 a year. When we went with State Farm and Louisiana Citizens, it went up to almost $7,000 a year.”

But the Tomlin’s soon found out that even the insurance of last resort had strings attached, and for their family, the strings were stilts.

“A month later, they notified us that our insurance is going to be canceled because our house is elevated more than four feet off the ground.”

Their insurance company told them their home needed to be a maximum of four feet off the ground, but FEMA told them their house needed to be nine feet off the ground.

Those conflicting requirements led them to call their state senator, Reggie Dupre.

“We’re encouraging people to elevate their flood-prone homes out of harm’s way and then now, the state-sponsored insurance program is not allowing them to get homeowner’s coverage,” said Dupre, who wants to prohibit the state funded insurance program from denying coverage to homes over four feet.

According to the state program’s CEO, the height limit is standard in the insurance industry, and many companies deny liability coverage because of it.

“This is the insurance of last resort, so you can’t really follow what other procedures other big companies have been doing.”

“FEMA and the state need to get together on this and decide on what the elevation is supposed to be and the coverage they’re gonna give people,” said April Tomlin.

According to the group’s CEO, the Board of Louisiana Citizen’s Insurance Program is expected to remove the four-foot restriction at its next board meeting.

But Senator Dupre said that would only solve the problem in the short term, and recommended that the entire program be re-examined.

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~ by maringouin on Wednesday, October 25, 2006.

One Response to “how high is too high”

  1. What if they put cement block columns with screen between like a screen porch and called it part of the house. Or just screen around the poles.

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