FEMA announces substantial changes to flood insurance [Again!]

By | December 8, 2014

From Insurance Business America:

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Author: Caitlin Bronson – December 8, 2014  | 

Insurance agents working with victims of 2012’s Superstorm Sandy may have reason to celebrate this week.

Faced with continued pressure from Sandy victims and their advocates, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced a number of significant reforms to the National Flood Insurance Program intended to benefit flood victims Friday.

The reforms were proposed by several democrat lawmakers, including Sens. Robert Menendez and Cory Booker, and Reps. Frank Pallone and Bill Pascrell, Jr., and agreed to by FEMA leadership.

Specific flood insurance reforms include:

  • A copy of all engineering reports that were secretly modified will be provided to affected policyholders.
  • FEMA will penalize insurers just as much when they underpay a legitimate flood insurance claim as when they overpay.
  • The flood insurance appeals of 270 Superstorm Sandy victims will be reinstated.
  • The process of installing a flood insurance advocate’s office within FEMA, per revisions to Biggert-Waters, will be expedited.

The first reform, as it relates to a case of an engineer removing flood as the cause of damage to a Long Beach, N.Y. home, was particularly lauded.

“Why is it that when policyholders conceal or provide erroneous information it’s called insurance fraud, but when the insurance companies engage in the same practice they are given a free pass?” Sen. Menendez challenged.