HOUSTON – Last week, Channel 2 Investigates first exposed that the Federal Emergency Management Agency was not providing Hurricane Harvey victims with an extension to file a proof of loss claim.
As we first revealed, flood victims following Hurricane Sandy and the floods in Louisiana in 2016 were provided with extensions. As a result of our investigation, U.S. Reps. Gene Green and John Culberson sent a letter to FEMA requesting an extension for Harvey victims.
Now, the state of Texas is asking for an extension, as well.
Channel 2 Investigates has obtained a new letter sent in the last 48 hours to FEMA by the Commissioner of Insurance Kent Sullivan and the Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd requesting an extension for the filing of proof of loss claims.
Sullivan and Kidd indicate that FEMA, along with state and local agencies, were left overextended as a result of the catastrophic nature of Harvey combined with hurricanes Maria and Irma. They also cite hundreds of pending appeals as part of the reason to extend the National Flood Insurance Program proof of loss deadline to Dec. 31.
Martin Mayo is a Houston attorney who has dealt with FEMA since Hurricane Ike. Mayo also has been deeply involved in the latest extension push by the state.
When asked if there is any excuse not to provide the extension considering there is a state and federal push, Mayo said, “I can't imagine it. There are a lot of people who are here in Houston who don't even know they need this extension and I think it's going to be a great benefit to them but there is no reason. There is no downside to FEMA doing this. It's just going to require that they have an additional six-month period to accept these proof of loss."
Culberson weighed in on the state’s efforts, telling Channel 2 Investigates in a statement:
“I’m glad that Commissioner Sullivan and Chief Kidd have formally requested that FEMA extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) deadline to submit proof of loss for claims resulting from Hurricane Harvey until December 31, 2018. Last week, Representative Gene Green (TX-29) and I urged FEMA to make an extension. The NFIP program cannot leave any policy holders impacted by Hurricane Harvey behind. An extension to allow more time for Texans to finalize their claims is critical.”
The deadline to file a National Flood Insurance Program proof of loss claim is set to expire near the end of the month.