Victims of Hurricane Irma won’t have to worry about their federal flood insurance coverage lapsing or losing their subsidy status if they can’t make payments on their policies until January 2018.
That’s because the Federal Emergency Management Agency extended today the grace period for policy renewals by 120 days for Irma victims in federally declared “major disaster” zones in Florida, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. FEMA runs the National Flood Insurance Program, which is responsible for about 98 percent of all residential flood insurance.
“Without the extension, the renewal grace period is 30 days to avoid a lapse in coverage. If policyholders have a lapse for either more than 90 days, or twice for any number of days, they may no longer be eligible for the subsidized premium,” a FEMA spokesperson told Bloomberg BNA today in an email.
These subsidized rates are often based on out-of-date flood risk maps and allow property owners to pay sometimes significantly lower premiums than what the cost to actually insure the property is based on modern flood maps. Policyholders are allowed to keep the lower subsidized rates because their properties were built up-to-code based on the flood maps available at the time of construction.
“Many of these policyholders have been disrupted by the storm by evacuations, post office closures, and disruptions to the businesses that service their policy,” the FEMA spokesperson said.
Many consumers get NFIP coverage through their primary insurance company such as Allstate Insurance Co., American Family Insurance Co., and Farmers Insurance Group, which participate in the NFIP’s Write-Your-Own (WYO) program.
Policyholder Improvement Initiative
In addition to observing the 120-day renewal grace period, FEMA directed these WYO insurers to pay from $5,000 to $20,000 to policyholders in advanced payments depending on whether the victims make a claim with or without photographic proof of damages, according to a Friday FEMA press release. Private insurers selling NFIP policies are also directed to waive the requirement for policyholders to submit an initial proof-of-loss form to advance their claims process.
FEMA instituted a number of changes after Hurricane Sandy to improve the policyholder claims process.
Policyholder improvements include “creating the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate (OFIA), an independent office that advocates for the fair treatment of policyholders and property owners, developing a new appeals process, and increasing advanced payments for policy holders in declared flood disasters,” a FEMA spokeswoman said in a Sept. 13 email.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)