In “Texas Flood,” Stevie Ray Vaughan sang:

Yeah, flood water keeps a rolling,

Man it’s about to drive poor me insane

Keeping up with the changes in flood insurance this year would give Stevie an even worse case of the blues. There is a huge opportunity to help guide your customers through the changes and ensure they have appropriate coverage. Remember – only 31% of Floridians have flood insurance!

The Basics

Flood insurance has the unfortunate stigma of being “forced” or “required” government insurance. Or for other customers it’s synonymous with “optional” coverage. Add in Biggert-Waters and a jumble of acronyms like PRP, FIRM, NFIP, and SFHA – it’s no wonder customers are confused!

Two major changes have occurred in the flood market:

  • The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012
  • The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability, that reversed parts of Biggert-Waters and remapped FEMA flood zones, effective March 2014

Coverage of flood damage hasn’t changed. Flood is still an excluded loss on the standard homeowner policy. Surface flooding from rivers, lakes, drainage ditches, creeks and canals, and tropical storms – there isn’t a Florida homeowner that doesn’t face the risk of any of these types of flood damage. Florida’s mean elevation is 100 feet above sea level; according to the U.S. Census Bureau, 75% of the population is in a coastal county.

Savings

For customers impacted by remapped flood zones, now is the time to contact them and try and retain their business. In Broward County, 60% of parcels formerly in mandatory flood zones have been removed. Many are receiving letters from their mortgage companies telling them they are no longer required to have flood insurance. Instead of cancelling these policies, offer to write a Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) for the customer, if they qualify, at a reduced rate. Or, for properties newly mapped into high-risk flood zones, they may be eligible to extend their current PRP or grandfather into a lower risk zone.

Tower Hill offers a 2.5% flood discount in our HO3 programs. To qualify, the insured must have a companion flood policy through Tower Hill. For new business, you may quote the policy with the discount. To apply the credit for a mid-term or for a renewal policy, enter the change in RPM and upload a copy of the flood declarations page.

Resources

  • Use the NFIP’s website, FloodSmart.gov to help your customers make the best decision for their property.
  • We have also published a Flood Damage Brochure, available in the Rating and Policy Management (RPM) system.

The Learning Center on Tower Hill’s website also features helpful information on flood insurance.

Brian Hunt, AIC, CPCU

About Brian Hunt, AIC, CPCU

Commercial Underwriter II
Tower Hill Insurance Group

Brian started his insurance career with State Farm in St. Paul, MN, in 1998. In addition to handling property and liability claims, he served as part of the National Catastrophe Team, following tornadoes, hurricanes, and hailstorms across the country. He made several friends named Charley, Frances, Jeanne, Ivan, Wilma, and Katrina. He moved to Florida in 2009 to manage a catastrophe office in Jacksonville, and because of a girl (now wife) his path led him to Gainesville and Tower Hill Insurance. In his free time, Brian is an Ironman triathlete and also enjoys writing about local and national history.