Tropical Storm Bill Eyes La.

July 1, 2003

As Tropical Storm Bill appears to be headed for Louisiana, Commissioner of Insurance Robert Wooley is urging policyholders to be prepared. The National Weather Service has issued a hurricane watch from Intracoastal City eastward to Morgan City, and forecasters predict the storm will move inland over Louisiana later today.

Wooley says once a tropical storm or hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico it’s too late to buy flood and other property insurance, but it’s never too late to take the proper steps to ensure the protection of one’s property.

“When rough weather is headed your way, make sure to gather all of your insurance information and other important documents and put them in a secure place, like a safe deposit box or a watertight box,” Wooley says. “It’s critical to have your insurance information available after a storm has passed so your can call your insurance company to report any damage,” he said. You should also keep an itemized list of all valuables, including furniture and clothing, in case a claim needs to be made with your insurance company. “Make sure that information is also kept in a safe, dry place, along with any photos and video you may have of your property,” Wooley adds.

One important thing to remember about tropical storms and hurricanes is that they can produce storm surges, tornadoes and inland flooding. “So, no matter where you live in Louisiana, you are subject to the effects of tropical weather,” noted Wooley. “Many inland residents do not adequately prepare for storm disasters because they believe they are too far from the coast to be affected by the winds and waves produced by a tropical system.”

Wooley noted that flood insurance is separate from one’s homeowner’s policy and is available through a federal program called the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). While the rates are set by the NFIP, people can buy a policy from a local agent. Wooley reminded policyholders that they can expect to wait 30 days before a flood insurance policy takes effect.

Flood insurance is available to protect homes, condominiums, apartments, and non-residential buildings, including commercial structures. Automobile insurance policies cover flooding if one has purchased comprehensive coverage.

Commissioner Wooley adds that anyone needing a hurricane tracking chart and preparedness guide should look on the Department of Insurance Web site at

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