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too, both Federal and State, have thrown their way, extended to them.
Senator LEHMAN. Mr. Barnes, in your testimony you referred to the fact that in slightly more than 2 years of its existence the administration has made about 45 declarations of disaster areas.
Mr. BARNES. Yes, sir.
Senator LEHMAN. Then you go on to say many of these 45 disasters were fortunately confined to small areas but they caused much local distress.
In one instance an entire community-Udall, Kans.—was practically wiped. from the face of the earth.
That disaster came from a hurricane or tornado; did it not?
Senator LEHMAN. Well, isn't it a fact that there is no difficulty for homeowners getting insurance to protect themselves against the forces of nature as demonstrated by a hurricane or a tornado?
Mr. BARNEs. Yes, sir. There is cyclone, windstorm-damages insurance available, and in most of the other disasters we have as a normal situation worked with the private companies that have written the insurance in this way: We make it clear to the victims that if they have a problem since the insurance does not cover the cost of reconstruction, that we will consider a loan to enable them to rebuild immediately and will take an assignment of the proceeds under the insurance policy when the claim is settled and we will proceed immediately to make them a loan, and if it takes them a few months to work out their insurance claim, we will apply it when received on the face amount of the loan.
It has been my observation—and I have some figures on the other disasters which I wish to make available to the committee where there is private insurance available that it cuts down the need for loans by 70 to 90 percent.
In, I think, Blackwell, Okla., for instance, where there were some 400 homes destroyed, it was in a better residential section of the city, and the cyclone or tornado took out about 3 blocks of residential dwellings from one end of the city to the other and some 400 homes lost. Most of the homes were covered by insurance of one kind or another, cyclone insurance, and with their insurance and the assistance of either banks or savings and loan companies, they were able to rebuild without a loan.
Our loans in that particular section were about 40. So it cut it down to about 10 percent of the total loss.
These 45 disasters over the past 2 years are broken down on this sheet which I will offer into the record, and you may wish to see what the breakdown has been.
Senator LEHMAN. Before you do that, I would like to pursue this: one subject just for a minute.
Mr. BARNEs. All right, sir.
Senator LEHMAN. Because I think it is extremely important. I am afraid that the facts are not quite known or understood by the public..
When a man loses his house by a tornado and it has been insured, he doesn't need any Federal help. He has got the insurance that covers the cost of the house.
Senator Bush. Luckily.
Senator LEHMAN. Well, I believe that you will agree with me, Mr. Barnes, that today there is no difficulty whatsoever in a man protecting himself by insurance against fire, against earthquakes, against windstorms, including hurricanes and tornadoes, and some of the other natural disasters.
I am told that in States where tornadoes are more or less usual, almost everybody is covered by tornado insurance. Now will
me, is there any insurance that would cover a man who lost his house through destruction or damages caused by floods?
Mr. BARNES. I know of no such insurance covered by private.companies or in the Government. It is true that even on the seashore areas where there were losses a year ago when the hurricanes and tidal waves actually struck the shore if a piece of property was damaged by waves there was no liability on the part of the insurance company. But if the same house had an all-coverage policy of some sort that included windstorm if the roof was partially destroyed or the doors or windows blew in before the waves destroyed the house, the insurance companies accepted liability, according to my understanding and the cases that we dealt with.
So that I don't know of any insurance that is available from flood or high water due to tides or waves.
Senator LEHMAN. That is what I am getting at. People don't realize, they say “Why should the Government interest itself in the flood insurance when it doesn't interest itself in fire insurance or earthquake insurance or tornado or hurricane insurance ?”
What I am trying to bring out is the answer is simple: The Government doesn't need to concern itself with those disasters on which a man or community can protect itself.
Mr. BARNES. I also offer into the record what has happened in past disasters, how the loans are broken down, what the loss has been in different types of disasters. I think it would be useful statistical information for the committee.
(The table referred to follows:)
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION Disaster loan application activity, by disasters, by States, cumulative through June 30, 1955
35 000 1, 800
33, 000 1, 800
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION
Earthquate (Aug. 25, 1952),1 California
Gales, snow, and high tides (Nov. 12, 1953):
118, 100 61, 970
1 2 37 19
10, 100 166, 970
Disaster loan application activity, by disasters, by States, cumulative through June 30, 1955—Continued
SMALL BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION -continued
1 Areas declared prior to SBA lending authority. % Total gross amount approved reflects a reduction of $1,160,674 from the amount requested. 3 Includes $73,000 participating bank's share in 1 loan.