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 expects Sandy-related losses 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.

"As we go into this, we are looking at Sandy and the numbers are staggering," Connor said.