A month after Congress approved a five-year extension to the National Flood Insurance Program, Hurricane Isaac is barreling towards the Gulf Coast, threatening $36 billion in residential property, according to CoreLogic.

The real estate data firm says Isaac’s risk zone places approximately 269,000 homes in the storm’s direct path.

At-risk areas include regions south of, and including, New Orleans and anywhere on the Gulf Coast from Biloxi, Miss. to Ft. Walton, Fla.

Hurricane Katrina hit seven years earlier, and the National Flood Insurance Program is still reeling from an onslaught of claims from Hurricane Irene last August.

The NFIP, which is tied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, paid $1.3 billion to cover 43,410 claims from Irene last year. Comparatively, NFIP paid $16.2 billion in claims to cover floods caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

Despite community advocacy groups, like SmarterSafer.org, lauding the five-year extension of the federal flood insurance program, reforms are still needed with the program remaining $18 billion in debt.

SmarterSafer estimates the federal flood insurance program covers 5.6 million homes and maintains a total risk exposure of $1.25 trillion. The advocacy group has been calling for long-term NFIP reform to ensure the program survives and remains fiscally solvent.

kpanchuk@housingiwire.com

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