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The Louisiana Floods of 2016

Brett Goldberg | August 19, 2016

Our eyes have been glued to screens this week learning about the Louisiana Flooding of last weekend. The Red Cross is calling the event the worst US disaster since 2012 when Hurricane Sandy ravaged the east coast. Less than one week after the event, Governor Edwards is describing over 40,000 homes in Baton Rouge and other parts of the state “uninhabitable.”

Perhaps equally unfortunate to the devastation is how the Recovery industry responds to catastrophes like Louisiana. Floods are historically the top natural disaster in the US and the average flood claim is over $40k per incident. However, very few homeowners typically maintain Flood Insurance as most carriers do not include flood policies as part of standard homeowner’s insurance. Less than 13% of US homeowners had Flood Insurance policies as of 2012. Approximately 20% of Louisiana homeowners were covered for floods as of July 2015.

Without Flood Insurance, many homeowners will turn to FEMA for support, the administrator of the National Flood Insurance Program. Nearly 100,000 homeowners in Louisiana have reached out already. Unfortunately, FEMA reimbursements are often below the cost of damage to a flooded home in an environment like Louisiana this week. Payouts are typically maxed at $33,000 per household. That means homeowners also become “under water” financially, so to speak, during catastrophic events like this one.

Further, FEMA requires confirmation from an insurance carrier that a homeowner lacked a flood policy before they can intervene and provide support. That means a property inspection is required to assess the property, confirm damage and submit a “Denial Letter” to the policyholder. As time passes, a homeowner’s patience lessens and frustrations grow. Emotions can boil over as one learns they don’t possess Flood Insurance and may not receive financial compensation necessary to repair (or replace) their most prized asset–their home.

The Spex team is headed to Louisiana this weekend to support this disaster. The Spex Field App will be a complimentary solution to inspect damaged homes and obtain better photos, notes and diagrams. The Spex Dashboard will be used to import and assign claim data as well as create SpexReports®, a valuable supplement to Denial Letters or other communication materials. The overall Spex platform should provide new advantages for inspectors to aid with both speed and efficiency. Nothing is more important than “cycle times” during events like this.

The industry simply gets stretched too thin, financially and otherwise, during times like this. Our hearts go out to those affected in Louisiana. We hope we can be useful to the review and restoration efforts underway.

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Brett Goldberg
CEO of Spex