WASHINGTON — The head of the National Flood Insurance Program said Wednesday early estimates show Hurricane Harvey will result in about $11 billion in payouts to insured homeowners, mostly in southeast Texas.

That would likely put Harvey as the second costliest storm in the history of the federal insurance program, said Roy E. Wright, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s deputy associate administrator for insurance and mitigation. More than $16 billion was paid out after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

It is still too soon to estimate losses from Hurricane Irma, Wright said. But he predicted that the storm damage in Florida and other affected states could rival the nearly $9 billion paid out after Superstorm Sandy in 2012.

Even before the recent back-to-back hurricanes, the federal flood insurance program was about $25 billion in debt to the U.S. Treasury. Wright said the program currently has enough cash to absorb the initial wave of payments to help homeowners get back on their feet but will need billions more within about a month.

“Congress has never turned their back on a flood insurance holder, and I cannot imagine them looking away now,” Wright said. “I am confident there will be no break in the flow of funds.”

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Source:: The Denver Post – Business

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