From USA Today:

“It may be a matter of semantics, but I don’t consider that disaster aid. The government is running an insurance company, and the insurance company owes money to policyholders who paid their premiums,” said R.L. Lehmann, a senior fellow at the R Street Institute, a free-market think tank.

“This is not discretionary: You have to pay claims to people who have a contract,” Lehmann said.

FEMA insures about 5 million properties nationally, including 585,000 in Texas, about half of which are in the counties that include Houston and Galveston. Most of that FEMA-backed coverage is provided through commercial insurance companies that sell and service policies.

“If damage is similar to Sandy, and that doesn’t seem like an unreasonable assumption, then it could be in the $8 billion to $10 billion range,” said Lehmann. “Some guesses are that it could be more than Katrina, or $15 billion to $16 billion.”

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