NFIP Pays $364M on Idalia Claims. Florida Bill Requires Flood Disclosure to Buyers

March 15, 2024

The National Flood Insurance Program has paid out $364 million on flood claims from Hurricane Idalia, the storm that swamped part of Florida in August. That’s a fraction of the $3.2 billion NFIP paid after Hurricane Ian, a much larger storm that churned through Florida, Georgia and the Carolinas in 2022.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said in a bulletin this week that NFIP had received 5,210 claims from Idalia and had closed 98% of them. For Ian, which hit more populated areas in late September 2022, NFIP saw some 46,400 claims. The average flood claim paid in Idalia was about $69,900. In Ian, the average was slightly less — $68,900.

FEMA said it also provided almost $83 million in direct grants to survivors of Idalia, a tempest that brought storm surge and flooding to the more rural Big Bend area of Florida. The grants included rental assistance to help with lodging while displaced residents rebuild their homes.

Keaton Beach, Florida, following Idalia. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

The agency also sent $295 million to the state of Florida to assist state and local governments with emergency response efforts, and approved $79 million in low-interest loans for homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profit organizations. Florida lawmakers last fall also earmarked more than $240 million for Idalia recovery for farmers and to help homeowners cover insurance deductibles.

Overall, the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation reported more than 25,000 multi-peril claims from Idalia, including 452 private insurer flood claims. As of last November, the latest data available from OIR, only about 7,380 of those multi-peril claims had been closed with payment, suggesting that many of the claims were actually the result of flood damage and were not covered by wind policies.

Only about 22% of Floridians carry flood insurance, the Florida Department of Financial Services has reported.

Total insured losses from Hurricane Idalia have been estimated at more than $3.5 billion.

The FEMA Idalia report comes as a stark reminder that thousands of Florida homes are vulnerable to flooding, but flood damage is not always disclosed. The Florida Legislature this month approved House Bill 1049, which, if signed by the governor, would require home sellers to provide a flood disclosure form to purchasers.

Florida court rulings have differed on whether a tendency to flood must be revealed to potential buyers of real estate. And state law previously has not required a flood disclosure, a staff analysis of the bill explains.

If signed into law, HB 1049 will take effect Oct. 1.

Related: FEMA Adds $575 Million in Reinsurance Coverage for NFIP

Top photo: Horseshoe Beach, Florida, after Idalia’s storm surge. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell)

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