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PIA's Flood Partner, The Hartford, Can Help You Navigate FEMA's Flood Remapping Project

FEMA is in the process of a nationwide flood zone remapping project that may affect your customers, and can also offer you an opportunity to...
May 21, 2010

Retain Your Flood Clients and Build Your Business

FEMA is in the process of a nationwide flood zone remapping project that may affect your customers, and can also offer you an opportunity to expand your book of business. PIA's flood partner, The Hartford, understands that the current remapping may pose some challenges to you in keeping your current policyholders informed and prepared for zoning changes. They are ready to assist their PIA flood agents in understanding the process and in making this transition easy and profitable for you.

The Hartford has produced a web-based toolkit to help PIA/Hartford flood agents:

  • Understand the remapping process and timeline
  • Answer your clients' questions about remapping
  • Protect your clients from unnecessary extra costs
  • Protect yourself from additional E&O exposure
  • Communicate with your clients about remapping in their community
  • Reach out to prospects to expand your flood business
  • Find current remapping information
  • Work through conversion processes

In the tool kit you will find information to guide you as well as information you can provide to your clients. Agents who are enrolled in the PIA/Hartford flood program may access The Hartford's web-based toolkit (aka the "2010 Remapping Navigator") at www.hartfordfloodonline.com. For more information about the PIA/Hartford flood program, visit us online or contact Karen Piacenta of The Hartford at (860) 757-1984 or karen.piacenta@thehartford.com.

What is FEMA's Remapping Project?

The FEMA Remapping project (also called Map Modernization) is a multi-year initiative that will update flood zone maps in over 20,000 communities across the country. To accomplish the effort, FEMA is working closely with association and private sector partners.

As a result, FEMA will be producing detailed, digital flood hazard maps known as Digital Flood Insurance Rate Maps, or D-FIRMS. These updated maps will:

  • Help NFIP communities manage flood risks and disaster recovery more efficiently
  • Provide accurate information for residents, business owners and other key stakeholders to make choices regarding personal and financial protection

Why Is It Being Done?

Remapping is being initiated in recognition that flood risks can change over time, altering floodplain boundaries. Those boundaries can change shape due to changes in dams or levees, surface erosion and other natural forces. In addition, land use and development may change water flow and drainage patterns.

How Does It Affect Me and My Clients?

With remapping of flood zones, risk designations change, and so do the opportunities for loss. That means some of your policyholders may be remapped into either lower risk zones, or higher risk zones, and that they may need to be converted to different rate structures for their flood insurance. The following is a snapshot of how this works.

Remapped to a Higher Risk Flood Zone

When your client is remapped to a higher risk zone and holds a mortgage, the lender will require mandatory flood insurance. This requirement applies to all federally-regulated lenders as well as government sponsored enterprises such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. You will want to try to avoid forced placement by being proactive in securing coverage ahead of the remapping effective date. Your client may also be able to take advantage of a lower rate through grandfathering.

Remapped to a Lower Risk Zone

In this case it is important for your client to understand that the risk of flooding is reduced, but not eliminated. And, they may be eligible for reduced insurance rates, and may receive a refund. Their lender may no longer require them to carry flood insurance, but it is in their best interest to convert their existing policy to a Preferred Risk Policy to maintain coverage if they are eligible.

Remapping Calendar Timeline

You should be proactive in seeking out information about your community remapping process since you will not necessarily be notified that it is taking place. It is possible that your community has already completed the remapping process.

Important dates for you to be aware of, and to begin to take action, are:

  • Final Community Meeting
  • Letter of Final Determination, issued at the beginning of the 6-month adoption period
  • Date of Effective Flood Map

For actual key remapping dates in your area, log on to http://www.floodsmart.gov/. The timeline below will give you a better idea of key events during the remapping process.

FEMA/NFIP Remapping Timeline

The PIA/Hartford Flood Program

The Hartford is dedicated to providing agents with extraordinary customer service and value. The Hartford Flood program offers an easy enrollment process and extremely competitive commissions. Through our national flood insurance service center, we offer the most advanced Internet services available.

Through a partnership with PIA, PIA members in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have the opportunity to offer their customers flood insurance through one of two plan offerings: The Hartford's Standard program or the Flood Solutions program. The Standard program includes a web-based application process with the agency doing the customer service administration with Internet and live customer service support. The Flood Solutions program includes a streamlined application process with The Hartford's Flood Insurance Processing Center doing most of the work. Flood Solutions simplifies the writing of flood insurance for the agency.

For more information about the PIA/Hartford flood program, please visit us online or contact Karen Piacenta of The Hartford at (860) 757-1984 or karen.piacenta@thehartford.com.