President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, is on Hurricane Irma’s destructive path and facing a potential eight-foot storm surge. However, any damage that the property would sustain from intense flooding may be compensated by taxpayers money through a federal insurance policy.
Another one of Trump’s properties already suffered the wrath of Hurricane Irma. La Château des Palmiers, Trump’s nine-bedroom beachfront mansion in St. Martin, is presumed to be one of the major casualties when Category 5 Irma ripped through the Caribbean islands on Wednesday.
The Guardian reported that 95 percent of the island has been destroyed. Local official Daniel Gibb told Radio Caribbean International that St. Martin is facing an “enormous catastrophe.” Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Trump Organization said that they’re still assessing the situation at Trump’s Plum Bay property.
Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, as well as his other properties in southern Florida, is bracing for the massive storm. Like all coastal properties in the area, Mar-a-Lago is under threat of flooding when Hurricane Irma hits. However, any flood-related damage sustained by Trump’s “winter White House” is covered by a flood insurance policy under the National Flood Insurance Program.
A Federal Emergency Management Agency official told the Huffington Post that the president’s Mar-a-Lago estate is covered by the insurance program, which provides affordable insurance policies to property owners in high-risk areas. Basically, it’s a federally-supported insurance coverage provided for properties in high-risk areas, which private insurers would traditionally refuse to cover, at the expense of taxpayers’ money.
The insurance policy covering Mar-a-Lago is reportedly not subsidized and is classified at a “full-risk rate,” which means that the policy owner is paying a rate that covers the full risks of flooding but only up to a certain coverage amount.
Authorization for the insurance program was set to expire at the end of September, but a relief package signed by Trump on Friday extended the operation of the program until December, NBC News reported.
The controversial NFIP has been criticized for not charging enough in premiums to offset projected costs of liabilities and that the program doesn’t bring in enough money to compensate for damages incurred by insured properties.
According to Reuters, the NFIP already owes $24.6 billion to the U.S. Treasury, most of which are from policies claimed after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Sandy in 2012. Claims related to Hurricane Harvey could further push NFIP towards its borrowing limit.
Associated Press previously reported that Trump claimed to have received a $17 million insurance payout for Mar-a-Lago in 2005 after the estate allegedly sustained damage from a series of storms. Trump said that he pocketed the money instead of using it for repairs. However, whether the said insurance claim was covered by the NFIP or a different insurance policy was not revealed.
Meanwhile, Florida residents are calling on President Donald Trump to open Mar-a-Lago as a shelter for victims of Hurricane Irma. At least 6 million people have been ordered to head to evacuation centers as Irma approaches and shelters are already beginning to fill up. Although Trump’s lavish property could also face tremendous damage from the storm, some suggested that it could be used to provide shelter to victims that may see their houses flooded in the aftermath of the storm.
[Featured Image by Joe Raedle/Getty Images]