FAQ's About Your Flood Insurance Information Packet

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  1. Why did I receive a packet in the mail about National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance?
  2. What does FEMA or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have to do with my flood insurance?
  3. What is the Acknowledgement of Receipt form, and why is it included?
  4. What if I don’t complete and return the Acknowledgement of Receipt form?
  5. My spouse and I own our property jointly, and our flood insurance policy is issued in both of our names. Why is there only one name on the Acknowledgement of Receipt form (and/or in the packet’s mailing address)?
  6. The form states that, if a representative of the policyholder signs, that person “must explain the nature of the representation and provide legal authority.” What does this mean?
  7. Some of the information in the packet is incorrect or out of date. Can you change it?
  8. The company/policy number and/or the property address on the Property Loss History page is different than on my current policy. How can I correct this?
  9. There is an error in the loss information on the Property Loss History page. How do I correct it?
  10. I live in an apartment community (or a condominium community), and I do not recognize one or more of the losses on the Property Loss History page. What should I do?
  11. I don’t want to receive the flood insurance information packet again. How do I get off your mailing list?
  12. My neighbor received a flood insurance information packet, but I did not. How do I obtain one?
  13. Why does my Flood Insurance Information Packet include a Claims Handbook? I haven’t filed any claims with FEMA recently.

 

  1. Why did I receive a packet in the mail about National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance?
    In recent years, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which oversees the NFIP, has been required by law to send an annual flood insurance information packet to each flood insurance policyholder. The law that requires the mailing is the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004, or “FIRA 2004.” (Its full name is the Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004, codified as Public Law 108-264.) FIRA 2004 also required other changes in the NFIP.

    The materials in the packet were intended by Congress to help flood insurance policyholders better understand what their policy does, and does not, cover. The NFIP Flood Insurance Claims Handbook, included in the packet, is an especially valuable resource because it provides tips about precautions to take before a flood, recovery measures to take after a flood, how to file a claim, and how to appeal the denial of a claim.

  2. What does FEMA or the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) have to do with my flood insurance?
    The NFIP was created by Congress in response to the rising cost of disaster relief for flood victims. The NFIP is managed by FEMA (which is a part of DHS). Through FEMA’s “Write Your Own” (WYO) Program, private insurance companies write and service the standard federal flood insurance policy under their own names. The standard federal policy is also available from FEMA’s Direct Servicing Agent.

    No matter which carrier issues your flood insurance policy, the coverage and rates are the same, as are the general conditions and provisions for loss settlements (claims). FEMA provides the funds used by the WYO companies to pay NFIP claims, and regularly audits those companies to ensure that they are handling policies and claims in accordance with the rules and regulations of the program.

  3. What is the Acknowledgement of Receipt form, and why is it included?
    Under FIRA 2004, Congress required that the form be included in the packet. The purpose of the form is to let policyholders know that the information in the packet is important and should be reviewed and retained. When completed and returned, the form helps FEMA make sure that the packet reached the policyholder, as Congress intended.

  4. What if I don’t complete and return the Acknowledgement of Receipt form?
    Actually, two copies of the form are enclosed in the packet. One is to be returned to FEMA in the prepaid envelope provided; the other is for you to save for your records. However, FIRA 2004 does not require that the form be returned, and there are no consequences if you choose not to return the form.

    Only one policyholder needs to sign the form, even if the NFIP policy is issued in the names of more than one person.

  5. My spouse and I own our property jointly, and our flood insurance policy is issued in both of our names. Why is there only one name on the Acknowledgement of Receipt form (and/or in the packet’s mailing address)?
    This is done for the sake of economy in producing the packet. As long as the names of both (or all) policyholders are shown correctly on the Declarations Page of the flood insurance policy, no action on your part is necessary.

  6. The form states that, if a representative of the policyholder signs, that person “must explain the nature of the representation and provide legal authority.” What does this mean?
    After signing the Acknowledgement of Receipt form, the policyholder’s representative must cite legal authority to do so by stating his or her relationship to the policyholder. Examples include “Attorney in fact” or “POA” (for someone granted power of attorney for the policyholder), or “Executor (or Trustee) of the estate of [policyholder’s name].”

    Please do not send FEMA any legal documents or other proof of your relationship to the policyholder.

  7. Some of the information in the packet is incorrect or out of date. Can you change it?
    If there is an error or update in your name, mailing address, property address, policy number, or insurance carrier’s name, notify your insurance agent right away. Your insurance company must change this type of information.

    If there is an error on the Property Loss History page included in the packet, see FAQs 8, 9, and 10 below.

  8. The company/policy number and/or the property address on the Property Loss History page is different than on my current policy. How can I correct this?
    An error may have occurred in the printing of the pages. Check the small number printed at the top of the Acknowledgement of Receipt forms and the Property Loss History page. The same number should appear on each of those pages. If it does not, there has been an error in matching loss records with property addresses.

    When you notify FEMA’s NFIP Help Center of the error, FEMA will mail corrected packets to you and the policyholder whose information you received. Other causes of errors on the Property Loss History page will have to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. (See “Contact Information” at the end of these FAQs.)

  9. There is an error in the loss information on the Property Loss History page. How do I correct it?
    All claim data is collected and reported based on the property location. As a result, claim data may become linked due to similar addressing or an error in the submittal of an address associated with a claim. A general address also may cause data relating to different structures to link together.

    If you believe that the property loss history is incorrect, contact FEMA’s NFIP Help Center for review. (See “Contact Information” at the end of these FAQs.) Keep in mind that the property loss history shows all paid losses on a specific property, regardless of ownership.

    Resolving loss history errors requires FEMA to contact the insurance carrier(s) and perhaps perform other research. This process takes time. When the error is resolved, FEMA will mail corrected Property Loss History pages to you and any other policyholder(s) involved.

    If you live in a condominium or apartment community, be sure to check the response to FAQ 10 to see if it applies to you.

  10. I live in an apartment community (or a condominium community), and I do not recognize one or more of the losses on the Property Loss History page. What should I do?
    First, keep in mind that the property loss history shows all paid losses on a specific property, regardless of ownership. There are several reasons that the Property Loss History page may show losses that you do not recognize, as follows:

    • All NFIP “loss” or claim data is reported, stored, and retrieved by property address. Therefore, all claims associated with a particular address will be reported to all policyholders who have an active flood insurance policy for that location. This means that the building owner or association will receive a report of all claims associated with the building, including those of individual unit occupants or owners.

    • Additionally, tenants who have a contents policy will obtain all information for claims of previous tenants as well as the building owner. If more than one payment was made for a date of loss, an aggregate total will be reported for building and/or contents to everyone with a policy associated with that property location.

    • In an apartment or condominium community, units may share the same basic street address, and only the apartment or unit designators vary. If an insurance carrier sent FEMA a policy record or a loss record containing an incorrect apartment or unit designator, an error may result.

    If you believe that the property loss history is incorrect, contact FEMA’s NFIP Help Center for a review. (See “Contact Information” at the end of these FAQs.)

  11. I don’t want to receive the flood insurance information packet again. How do I get off your mailing list?
    FIRA 2004 requires FEMA to mail the packet once each year to every party that has initially purchased or renewed a flood insurance policy during the current “rolling” 12-month period. The law does not provide for excluding active policyholders from the mailings.

  12. My neighbor received a flood insurance information packet, but I did not. How do I obtain one?
    Under FIRA 2004, the information packet is mailed only to current policyholders after their annual policy information has been processed and provided to FEMA. Therefore, receipt of the information packet is related to the policy effective date and will differ if your effective date is not the same as your neighbor’s.

    If you think you should have received an information packet, contact FEMA’s NFIP Help Center.

  13. Why does my Flood Insurance Information Packet include a Claims Handbook? I haven’t filed any claims with FEMA recently.
    FEMA suggests that you take steps now, before the waters are rising, that will make your life easier when a flood occurs. The Claims Handbook outlines what to do before a flood, and offers tips to policyholders about having documentation that will make filing your claim easier. Also, the Claims Handbook can help you through the process of filing a claim and /or appealing the decision on your claim.

    WYO insurance companies are also required by FIRA 2004 to send a Claims Handbook to policyholders after they report a loss.

    If you think you should have received an information packet, contact FEMA’s NFIP Help Center.

Contact Information for FEMA’s NFIP Help Center

Call: 866-395-7496 toll free Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (ET)

Or write to:
FEMA/NFIP Help Center
P.O. Box 310
Lanham, MD 20703-0310

Last Updated: 
07/24/2014 - 16:00
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