* Expects Sandy claims up to $12 bln
* Borrowing capacity just under $3 bln
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON, Nov 14 The Federal Emergency
Management Agency will probably need to request a congressional
bailout of its flood insurance operations, as claims from
superstorm Sandy could be as much as four times greater than the
program's capacity, a top FEMA official said on Wednesday.
The National Flood Insurance Program, a FEMA subsidiary, has
$2.9 billion in borrowing capacity but faces Sandy-related
claims of $6 billion to $12 billion, Edward Connor, FEMA's
deputy associate administrator for federal insurance, said at a
meeting of the Federal Advisory Committee on Insurance.
The NFIP is essentially the country's only flood insurer for
residential properties. It received a bailout after Hurricane
Katrina in 2005, leaving it with a debt load the government has
said the program will probably never be able to repay.
To extend the program's borrowing capacity further would
require authorization from Congress, something Connor said he
expects the Homeland Security Department will request soon.