FEMA opts to not extend proof of loss claims for Harvey victims

HOUSTON – Channel 2 Investigates first reported earlier this month how the Federal Emergency Management Agency was not extending the deadline for Hurricane Harvey victims to file their National Flood Insurance Policy proof of loss claims, even though the agency’s track record showed extensions being provided following other storms.

Houston-area congressional representatives sent FEMA a letter after learning from Channel 2 that FEMA was not providing an extension.

Friday afternoon, those leaders received their 11th-hour response, and the news was not good for those who have not filed a proof of loss claim.

FEMA stood strong on their stance and informed the state of Texas Insurance Commissioner they are not providing an extension.

FEMA did say they will take reasonable steps necessary to fully compensate policyholders of their flood damage.

U.S. Reps. Gene Green and John Culberson expressed their disappointment in FEMA through a lengthy joint statement, at one point stating, “The NFIP program cannot leave any policy holders impacted by Hurricane Harvey behind and an extension to allow more time for Texans to finalize their claims is critical. We urge FEMA to reconsider and grant the extension as well as encourage Texas residents to continue working with their insurer.”

In their letter, FEMA says they have closed 99.6 percent of their claims.

That is the same percentage of claims closed in Louisiana in September of 2017.

In that case, FEMA provided an extension to the end of the year.