It's inauguration day in the United States. No matter who you vote for this is always a historic day in the United States.

Its the day power is transferred from one person to the next as you have one president going out and a new one coming in today. 2021 isn't just the changing of presidential power but also the changing of flood insurance.

Almost everyday we get asked when is the National Flood Insurance Program going to get out of the flood insurance game.

The answer could be never but some things have recently happened to transfer some of that power and will continue to through 2021.

In July of 2019 the FDIC ruled that banks could start accepting private flood insurance on top of the National Flood Insurance Program. This meant that many customers had an option that they did not before. However due to the National Flood Insurance Program and FEMA cancellation rules they could only change at renewal.

 

After this ruling there were still some dark areas if every loan accepted private flood insurance.

The two areas that came into question were FHA and VA loans because they are considered government loans. Sometimes getting a straight answer on VA guidelines can be difficult. Direct writers for VA loans say no but mortgage brokers for VA loans say yes many times.

 

However FHA is a little bit easier as they have clearly said no for right now. About 60 days ago FHA opened up the comment period to determine if they will accept private flood insurance.

Hopefully they will make a ruling on this in the first quarter of 2021 and allow private flood insurance to be accepted. However thats not the only change with this transfer of power happening. 

The National Flood Insurance Program is scheduled to release NFIP Risk Rating 2.0 in October of 2021.

 

If this does happen it could bring some sweeping changes to a very outdated flood program.

Some of these changes could include flood insurance rates being based on replacement cost, rates based on distance to the water, and possibly elevation certificates no longer being needed.

Currently if you live in a flood zone x or minimal risk zone it's the same rate across the country, However in the new system you mighty have a different rate in Houston Texas compared to Birmingham Alabama.

It has been said that this could cause flood insurance to be unaffordable in areas like Florida, Texas, Louisiana, and North Carolina where many flood prone properties exist.

Replacement cost on a property could also help determine rates. Currently this is only used in coastal flood zones also known as flood zone V.

 

Elevation certificates no longer being required could be huge. Currently in many situations you can't eve get a flood insurance quote through the National Flood Insurance Program without an elevation certificate.

This could also be a cost saver to property owners as elevation certificate pricing can range from $500 to $2000.

So with these changes happening in 2021 will the National Flood Insurance Program be leaving the flood insurance industry.

It looks like if this did happen it would not happen anytime soon. One reason is the National Flood Insurance Program does not even currently consider private flood insurance as continuous coverage. This is one reason why if you leave for a private policy and come back you may not have the same benefits.

The other concern is insurability for properties that have flooded multiple times. Historically it has been a challenge for these properties to get reasonable flood insurance in these areas.

As you can see there are a lot of changes that are happening with the National Flood Insurance Program and even private flood insurance. If you have further questions make sure to visit our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

So you are getting ready for work in the morning and you look in the mirror.

What do you see?

You see yourself

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That might make you happy or it might not. Thats a different discussion for a different day.

Flood insurance mirrored policies work the same way. They have to resemble each other.

So in today's blog we want to answer a three questions

  1. What is a mirrored flood insurance policy
  2. How does it protect you?
  3. What is not included?

A mirrored flood insurance policy has to do with private flood insurance policies. We are talking about admitted companies and non admitted companies.

The video below explains what the difference is with these companies.

 

This is generally a private flood insurance policy that has to have the same parts as a standard flood policy with the National Flood Insurance Program. A few of the things we are talking about are listed below.

  1. Coverages just as broad
  2. Cancellation notice of 45 days
  3. Lawsuit period the same

So how does this mirroring protect you as a property owner?

It creates consistency when it comes to coverages and even when claims are paid out. After a claim is not the time to find out you don't have the right coverage or verbiage in your flood insurance policy.

So if you decide to go with one of these private companies it makes sure that it meets the banks requirements.

So what is not included in this mirroring. While this requirement does provide some consistency on the guidelines that must be followed, price is not one of them.

Price might be one of the biggest differences between these policies. While National Flood Insurance Program policies should be the same price no matter where you go, the same can not be said for private companies.

We have seen a big difference in pricing with private companies. Just this morning we had a customer in Johnson City Tennessee who got a $3000 flood insurance quote from one carrier but we were able to get him another option less than $1500.

So when you are looking at these options you want to think about that. Make sure to get at least 3 different private flood insurance options.

Want to know what your flood insurance options are available in areas like Johnson city Tennessee? Click here

Maybe you want to learn more about flood insurance or flood education then check out our YouTube channel.

YouTube Channel

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. So we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property longer term.

 

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Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

It's the question that gets asked probably a hundred times a week. Insurance agents, property owners, and even banks want to know the answer.

Everyday we see FHA loans fall apart because of flood insurance. Many times flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program can be higher. Then you might have to pay the cost of an elevation certificate.

In 2019 FDIC made a major move in the industry when they started to allow private flood insurance.

People assumed this meant FHA would start accepting private flood insurance. However because FHA insures loans they have different guidelines they do not accept private flood insurance. As of November 2020 FHA still only allows flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program, but hopefully that will be changing soon.

On November 10, 2020 FHA made an announcement they were looking at accepting private flood insurance. They opened up a 60 day comment period for people to leave comments on this possible action.

So what happens next and what will be the impacts?

 

What's Next

After this 60 day comment period FHA will look at the comments and probably make a decision by the 2nd quarter of 2021. If they decide to approve it then they would probably delay it going into effect by 6 months. This is what FDIC in 2019.

So what could the impacts be?

 

The Impact

Well if you currently have an FHA loan then these could possibly cause a major decrease in your mortgage payment. You might see a 40% rate decrease in the private market.

 

However if this is passed don't go and try to jump to the private market right away.

FEMA has strict guidelines for cancellation. Unless you are refinancing your house you may not qualify until your policy is up for renewal.

 

In 2019 we saw a lot of people lose money because of FEMA cancellation rules. Many times private carriers require payment up front and charge minimum earned premiums.

This means you might be out 25% of the money you paid for a private policy because FEMA won't let you cancel.

 

We will continue to monitor this situation and continue to educate the public as this process moves forward. If you have questions about your flood insurance options then click here.

Want to learn more about flood insurance?

Check out our YouTube channel and Podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we are here to help you understand flood risks, flood insurance and mitigating your property long term.

 

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

We all know flood insurance can be confusing.

When is an elevation certificate required?

What are the flood insurance options?

What is a flood insurance policy assumption?

 

There are about a thousand other questions that people have when it comes to flood insurance. You can find the answers to some of those questions in our 1000 flood education videos in 1000 days.

Today we want to look at flood insurance policy assumption.

 

 

We have discussed this before in our blogs and videos. However let's define what is a flood insurance policy assumption?

Flood insurance policy assumption is generally something that is done through the National Flood Insurance Program. This is when a flood insurance policy is moved from one property owner to another property owner.

Recently we have been helping a potential home buyer with this process in Gadsden Alabama.

The current home owner has had flood insurance in place for about 10 years. When they originally set up the flood policy in Gadsden Alabama in 2010 the property was in a low risk flood zone also known as a flood zone X.

However since then the property has been moved from a low risk flood zone to a high risk flood zone also known as a flood zone AE.

 

Gadsden Alabama has a lot of high risk flood zones because it is located on the Coosa River.

So now that this flood zone has been changed can the policy still be assumed?

As long as the policy has had continuous coverage then this policy should be able to be assumed. This is actually one of the benefits of doing a flood insurance policy assumption. This can also be known as a grandfathered flood insurance policy because the flood zone is no longer available.

 

On the flood insurance policy it should show two things a rated flood zone and current flood zone.

The rated flood zone will tell you what flood zone the rates are based on and the current zone will tell you the what flood zone the property is currently located in.

So how do you do one of these flood insurance policy assumptions?

 

The video above actually walks you through filling out the paperwork for a policy assumption. If you need help then click here. We help property owners and insurance agents with this process everyday.

So thats how a policy assumption with a different flood zone works. If you have questions about flood insurance in Gadsden Alabama, other parts of Alabama, or anywhere in the United States then click here.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we are here to help you understand your flood risks, your flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flooding.

 

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

 

2020 has been a year that no one will ever forget. There are three things we want to look at in 2020 and how they could impact the future of coastal private flood insurance.

  1. Covid
  2. Social Injustice
  3. Hurricanes

 

                                                           Covid

When Covid hit in March of 2020 it caused many businesses to come to a crashing halt.

The hospitality industry has basically been non existent and you couldn't pay someone to get on a cruise ship. Airlines are barely surviving. As this happened businesses turned to their insurance companies for coverage.

However many were surprised to find out that most insurance policies don 't cover this type of disaster. Government put pressure on insurance companies to provide coverage. However its difficult to provide insurance coverage when a premium was not charged for a risk.

As these businesses started to close they started to cancel their policies. This started to impact insurance companies as businesses were no longer needing insurance for a closed business. While this was a minimum impact on the bottom line when you add the next two things it creates a major problem.

 

                                 Social Injustice

2020 has seen the rise of social injustice and unrest across many parts of the country. Portland Oregon has seen many businesses burned and even Atlanta Georgia saw businesses damaged after a man was killed in an altercation with police. 2020 was problem the first time in 50 years that you have seen moratoriums put in place by insurance companies for selling business insurance.

At one point Target had to close its Minnesota stores because of looting.

 

                                                Hurricane Season

Now onto the third maybe the biggest thing to impact insurance companies in 2020. The 2020 hurricane season was predicted to be busy but no one predicted it to be this busy. In fact NOAA has had to make several adjustments to their hurricane predictions for 2020.

As we write this blog at the end of October in 2020 we have had 27 named storms, 11 hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S. and 5 hurricanes have made landfall in Louisiana.

This ties the record for most landfalls in a year within one state. Florida set the same record in 2005.

Hurricane Sally, Marco, and Delta have all created major damage in the gulf states. In fact Delta and Sally made landfall only 15 miles a part.

Like most people in 2020 insurance companies are eating through their reserves fairly quickly and they are discovering that many of their risk models were off.

So what does this mean for coastal states like Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas.

In Mississippi we are already seeing some private carriers halt business completely and we have seen this in Louisiana for a few years. Texas has also had this issue since Harvey.

We could see this pattern start to work its way towards Florida and Alabama.

Does this mean flood insurance will not be available?

No

The National Flood Insurance Program is available for properties where communities participate. It just means that the private flood insurance options could be limited for a while.

This will be a crucial time for you to work with an insurance agency that can defend your risk?

What does this mean?

This means being able to show how a risk may have changed because of mitigation efforts even if it has flooded. We see customers rejected everyday because someone did not defend their property correctly.

If you have questions about what your flood insurance are in these areas then click here. You can also check out our

YouTube Channel

where we do daily flood education videos. You can also check out our Podcast

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. This means we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property.

 

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

 

If I had a dime for every time I was asked the question how much flood insurance cost in San Antonio Texas I might just own a private island.

It's a valid question of course you want to know how much flood insurance is going to cost on your San Antonio Texas property.

The problem is that there is no simple answer. There are many things that can impact the cost of flood insurance in San Antonio Texas. Two things we want to look at are

  1. Location
  2. Elevation

Location is a driving factor of flood insurance cost in San Antonio. Whether you are located in a special flood hazard area or not can be a big price difference.

If you are lucky enough to be in the minimal risk zone also called flood zone x then you may have access to preferred rates.

So what is a flood zone x in San Antonio Texas?

 

As mentioned above this is an area that FEMA has determined to be in a minimal risk area. This means that the chance of flooding should be lower than the special flood hazard area. However the recent study by the first street foundation shows us that the risk for flooding is still there. San Antonio is in their top 20 list of cities with the greatest number of properties at substantial risk for flooding.

If you live in Texas then you know minimal risk doesn't mean no risk. Just look at hill country areas like Wimberly Texas and the flooding they have been through the last 5 years.

 

So what about the second factor elevation?

Elevation can play a major role in flood insurance cost in San Antonio. Something we want to pay attention to is base flood elevation.

So what is base flood elevation in San Antonio Texas?

 

According to FEMA base flood elevation is the elevation of surface water resulting from a flood that has a 1% chance of equaling or exceeding the level in any given year.

So the further you are below the base flood elevation the higher your rates through the National Flood Insurance Program could be. The further above the base flood elevation the lower your cost could be.

Are all flood insurance rates based on this? These are some of the factors that the National Flood Insurance Program uses for their rates.

Private flood insurance carriers may use these factors combined with other factors. In fact some private carriers even look at 20 year flood plains.

What are 20 year flood plains?

 

In many situations private flood insurance could be half the cost of the National Flood Insurance Program in San Antonio Texas.

Its also important to know that your loan type could determine if you qualify for private flood insurance.

 

Many government backed loans require property owners to purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Past claims could also determine if you qualify.

If you want to see if you qualify for private flood insurance then click here.

So as we mentioned at the beginning determining flood insurance cost in San Antonio Texas can be a complex answer.

The good news is we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we are here to help you understand the answer, understand your flood risks, and flood insurance.

If you want to learn more about flood insurance, flood education, and flood zone changes you can check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos. You can also checkout our podcast.

 

Contact Us

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

Flood Zones Huntsville Alabama

Huntsville Alabama is an area that is rapidly growing and always having flood zones changed.

We hear from people in areas like Madison Alabama or Owens Cross Roads Alabama. Why I am in a flood zone I wasn't last year.

Before we give an explanation of that remember everyone is in a flood zone and we will discuss flood zones in Huntsville Alabama in just a minute.

There are a couple of reasons why you might be notified that your Huntsville property is now in a special flood hazard area.

  1. Bank change
  2. Map change

Its not uncommon for when your mortgage is sold that your new bank pulls information that maybe your old bank didn't have before. We see it with small and large banks in Alabama everyday.

Many times banks or mortgage companies use different 3rd parties to verify this information. We have even seen where a bank had the wrong flood zone for more than 7 years.

So what can you do to fight the bank on the flood insurance. Unfortunately these banks are federally regulated so there are only ways to get this removed. You could order a letter of determination review which can take about 45-60 days to get back and there is usually a small charge.

The 2nd option is to appeal the flood zone. This is done through the letter of map amendment process. While it may not be required getting an elevation certificate is usually the best route here.

You can order one by clicking here.

This will tell you the different elevations of your property compared to the base flood elevation. FEMA looks at this to decide if you qualify for this letter of map amendment. You can also contact us to do a deeper review of this. This process still takes 30-60 days to get approved in the Huntsville Alabama area.

Now lets look at that 2nd reason why you might have been notified your property is in the special flood hazard area.

FEMA is always working with Huntsville Alabama communities on updating flood zones. When these zones have been agreed on by FEMA and the communities then flood zones are updated.

This process is called newly mapped areas. These are areas of Huntsville that go from a low risk area to a high risk area. The National Flood Insurance Program offers special rates to Huntsville residents for 12 months after this happens.

Now that we have discussed a few reasons why this might happen lets look at these flood zones.

                               Flood Zones in Huntsville Alabama

There are three flood zones in the Huntsville Alabama area that we want to discuss.

  1. Flood zone X
  2. Flood Zone A
  3. Flood Zone AE

Lets discuss flood zone x and the Huntsville Alabama area. The majority of the area falls within flood zone x. This is considered to be a minimal risk zone.

 

So is flood insurance required in flood zone x in Huntsville Alabama?

While it's not required it is recommended. If a property is in a flood zone x the bank is generally not going to require it unless maybe the property has flooded before.

So can these areas of Huntsville still flood?

Yes that is why it is recommended to buy flood insurance in Huntsville Alabama. These areas usually have the best rates on flood insurance because they are in preferred flood zones.

The residents of Muscle Shoals Alabama learned this lesson the hard way in 2019. Nathans Estates in Muscle Shoals Alabama was completely under water in early 2019 and it was in a flood zone.

So then what flood zones in Huntsville Alabama do require flood insurance?

The next two zones fall within the special flood hazard area. These are the areas that are at high risk of flooding according to FEMA and where banks will require flood insurance.

The first one is flood zone A.

So what is flood zone A?

 

Flood zone a is an area that falls within the 1% chance of flooding. Flood zone A many times has not had flood insurance study report done. This means it may not have a base flood elevation.

The video below explains flood zone A a little bit better.

 

The base flood elevation is the area FEMA thinks flood waters could come up to.

The other flood zone in the Huntsville Alabama area is flood zone AE

So what is flood zone AE?

 

Like flood zone A flood zone AE is also part of the special flood hazard area. The big difference here is that AE generally has a base flood elevation to compare the risk to. 

So the three main flood zones to Know in Huntsville Alabama are flood zone X, flood zone A, and Flood Zone AE.

If you want to check your flood zone you can click here.

If you have further questions about flood zones or flood insurance options in Huntsville Alabama then click here. We will be happy to review these with you.

You can also checkout our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or even check out our podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation. These means we are here to help understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property long term.

 

Contact Us

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com

I just got back from my first camping trip with my family. We recently decided to get a camper to make as many memories with our 4 year old daughter Lydia as possible.

I travel the country shooting our flood education videos and this was a way for them to come along.

My dad was an eagle scout but I only had the opportunity to go camping as a boy scout once when I was a child. I found it funny as a kid my dad was the only one wearing khakis and a dress shirt on the camping trip. Boy was he along way removed from his eagle scout days.

Geeky hipster holding an abacus against desk

Being a physicist he didn't do much with the outdoors as an adult. By the time I came along my grandparents were older and I didn't get the same experiences with the outdoors like my brothers did. I remember as kids they would go off to camp for a week. I looked forward to that but when it was my turn the camp had closed.

So as you can imagine this camping trip was filled with lots of learning experiences for me and my wife. If it wasn't for my experienced brother in law Jason it probably would have been an epic failure.

It was my first time sleeping in a camper, it was my first time learning how to manage the waste tanks. That was a learning experience.

20200531_131208

It was even my first time using a bath house. 

Old barn and outhouse at Millbrook Village, at Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, New Jersey.

My wife said do you have shower shoes? 

I said what are shower shoes?

Confused. Portrait young man thinking daydreaming trying to remember something scratching head isolated white background. Negative emotion facial expressions feelings. Short term memory loss, failure

She said you can't walk in the bath house bare footed. Many times we don't know the answer to the question until it's time for the question. As you can imagine I had lots of questions when it came to camping.

Like many people who have a question I went to Youtube to get my camping questions answered.

Getting camping questions answered can be much easier than getting flood insurance questions answered sometimes.

So today's question has probably been asked 100 times to me over the years.

Can You Buy Flood Insurance During Hurricane Season?

So can you?

You can buy flood insurance during any season. You might be limited to what options are available. Let's look at the National Flood Insurance Program first. The National Flood Insurance Program generally does not limit you to when you can buy flood insurance. They do put a 30 day wait period on a policy being effective unless it is for a map change or loan closing.

So what about private flood insurance?

You can still buy private flood insurance during hurricane season, but they may have more limitations. Private flood insurance carriers will put moratoriums in place many times when there is a named storm in the Gulf or Atlantic ocean. Generally they will remove this moratorium once the storm has passed and any flooding has stopped.

It's important to remember that like the National Flood Insurance Program private flood also has a wait period. This wait period generally ranged from 5 to 15 days unless its for a loan closing.

Even though you may have a loan closing a moratorium could still stop you from getting flood insurance in place.

So its important that you understand what options are available, what the wait periods are, and that you can get flood insurance during hurricane season.

So if you have questions about getting flood insurance during hurricane season then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our YouTube channel or Facebook page where we do daily flood education videos.

 

Chris Greene

Author

Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation
flood@communityfirstagency.com