With only days left until the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is set to expire, Florida Chief Financial Officer (CFO) Jimmy Patronis urges federal leaders to include a flood mitigation requirement as they seek long-term solutions for the Florida subsidized program. [Read more…] about CFO Jimmy Patronis: Flood Insurance Solution Must Include Mitigation
The Florida Office of Insurance Regulation is sharing guidance issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) addressing the claims process for its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders affected by Hurricane Irma. Five bulletins were issued on September 12th to applicable insurance companies and insurance adjusters with information on a variety of subjects.
A summary of the applicable information and links to each bulletin are provided below:
- Proof of Loss (POL) Waiver/Extension (Applicable to Standard Flood Insurance Policies) – The POL is waived for the initial claim payment. However, if the policyholder disputes the payment or submits a request for additional payment, they must file a POL with supporting documentation by one year from the date of loss.
- Advance Payments (Applicable to Standard Flood Insurance Policies) – The policyholder can request an advance payment of up to $5,000 for covered flood damages prior to the adjuster’s inspection. The policyholder may also request up to $20,000 prior to the adjuster’s inspection if they provide photographs along with receipts or canceled checks verifying covered out-of-pocket expenses or their contractor’s estimate of covered damages. After the adjuster’s inspection, the policyholder may request a larger advance payment of up to 50% of their contractor’s estimate of covered repairs.
- Enhanced Claim-Handling for Prior Loss and Contents Claims (Applicable to the Standard Flood Insurance Policy Dwelling Form Only) – The adjuster may group personal property by category. Also, where there is evidence of completed repairs to damage from prior flood losses, the NFIP is not requiring the adjuster to obtain the prior loss claim file before adjusting the claim.
- Extension of the Grace Period for Payment of NFIP Premiums – The 30-day grace period for premium receipt is changed to 120 days for policies expiring within a specified date range. Please review the bulletin for further details.
- Enhanced Claim-Handling Process for Building Losses Insured (Applicable to the Standard Flood Insurance Policy Dwelling Form & Group Flood Insurance Policies)– The adjuster may use a building valuation loss adjustment to support a large advance payment or if the policy limit is exceeded, conclude the claim in a timely manner.
Calling on Floridians to Urge U.S. House to Extend National Flood Insurance Program
Mass destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey and floodwaters in Texas and Louisiana. Severe flooding due to heavy rains in Southwest Florida. The devastating aftermath on people’s lives and livelihoods is a shocking reminder of what can happen when disaster strikes – and the critical need for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
“The National Flood Insurance Program is all that stands between families and disaster – but it’s set to expire Sept. 30, 2017, if Congress doesn’t act,” says Florida Realtors® President Maria Wells, broker-owner with Lifestyle Realty Group in Stuart. “This is of critical concern for Floridians since we represent nearly 40 percent of all NFIP policies in the U.S. Florida’s Realtors are joining with colleagues across the country to urge Congress to extend the flood insurance program. If we don’t have an extraordinary response from Realtors, we will not make a strong statement to Congress. This isn’t just an issue for waterfront homes, either. Flooding can occur due to storm surge and heavy rain – we must protect Florida’s citizens.”
Of the nearly 5 million homes and businesses covered by the NFIP around the nation, about 1.8 million are in the Sunshine State, according to the Florida Division of Emergency Management. Florida has over 20.1 million residents, and 80 percent of them live or conduct business along or near its coastline. Many other Floridians live or do business near the state’s rivers and other inland floodplains, and are also concerned about protecting their lives and property from future flooding. In fact, 97.9 percent of all Florida communities participate in the National Flood Insurance Program.
Lawmakers are back in Washington, D.C., today. Hopefully, Congress will reauthorize the NFIP before Sept. 30 to avoid a disruption in flood insurance coverage.
If the program lapses, the NFIP can’t issue new policies or even renew existing ones. The last time Congress allowed that to happen, about 40,000 home sales a month were put on hold, according to the National Association of Realtors®.
Wells has been active in the NFIP reauthorization effort working with NAR and directly with lawmakers.
“This is a volatile issue for our state and Florida’s voice needs to be strong,” says Wells. “Realtors in Florida and across the country are working together with property owners to urge Congress to extend the National Flood Insurance Program as quickly as possible. Without flood insurance, our communities are unprotected and at risk, with devastating consequences to people and their lives, homes and businesses.”
Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. It provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to its 170,000 members in 54 boards/associations
Florida League of Cities Federal Action Strike
Team (FAST) Members Bring Local Issues to D.C.
Florida’s 412 municipalities have to deal with a wide range of issues in their communities, many of which are governed and financed by federal legislation and programs. With a new Congress in Washington that includes several freshman members from Florida, municipal officials have a unique opportunity to build relationships with members of the state’s Congressional Delegation and discuss issues of importance for cities and citizens.
With tax reform, infrastructure funding and flood insurance high on the list of pressing issues for Floridians, the Florida League of Cities Federal Action Strike Team (FAST) recently visited members of Florida’s Congressional Delegation in Washington, D.C., to remind them about what’s most important to their constituents back home.
Twenty-eight Florida municipal officials representing all regions of the state participated in the 2017 FAST Fly-in. On this bi-annual advocacy trip, the FAST team met with 20 members of Florida’s Congressional Delegation and staff, including Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio. Before attending meetings with Florida’s senators and members of Congress, the group visited the National League of Cities (NLC) offices for a federal briefing from the NLC Federal Relations Team.
“Our Florida League of Cities Federal Action Strike Team had yet another successful trip to Washington,” said FAST Chair and Longwood Mayor Joe Durso. “League members should be proud of the leadership that FAST members showed as we continued to advocate for tax reform policies that are not harmful to cities, a fair playing field for our local businesses, commonsense flood insurance reform and reliable infrastructure funding.”
FAST team members were prepared to discuss statewide issues with real-world examples of how their hometowns are affected and may be affected in the future. This year’s federal agenda focused on preserving the tax-exempt status of municipal bonds, improving the FEMA Public Assistance Program, and maintaining support for an equitable federal flood insurance program.
“One of the best things about the FAST team is the many different cities its members represent. From small to large, rural to urban and everything in between, these municipal officials demonstrate the wide range of challenges that a state as geographically and economically diverse as Florida faces,” said FLC Legislative Director Scott Dudley. “Each participant brought a unique perspective to our meetings, which helped our members of Congress get a better understanding of how the issues we discussed really impact Florida’s cities.”
The FAST committee was created in support of the League’s strategic plan objective to strengthen its federal relations. The primary purpose of the committee is to establish proactive and reactive communications with the Florida Congressional Delegation in support of federal municipal policy. The committee takes its policy positions and direction from the League’s resolutions and the National League of Cities policy priorities, as well as from the League’s officers and board.
FAST members meet throughout the year, at the two FLC conferences in Florida and two delegation visits to Washington, D.C., each year.
Founded in 1922, the Florida League of Cities is the united voice for Florida’s municipal governments. Its goals are to promote local self-government and serve the needs of Florida’s cities. Florida’s cities are formed by their citizens and governed by their citizens. The League is founded on the belief that local self-government is the keystone of American democracy. For more information, visit www.floridaleagueofcities.com.