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FEMA IS-158: Hazard Mitigation Flood Insurance in Disaster Operations Course Summary

Course Introduction

Welcome to Hazard Mitigation (HM) Flood Insurance in Disaster Operations.

This course is designed for new HM Insurance Specialists. A secondary audience includes HM Insurance Technical Specialists and HM Insurance Crew Leaders; they may find it to be a valuable review.



Course Objectives

At the conclusion of this course you will be able to:

  • Describe the functions and products of HM Insurance.
  • Refer to key authorities, programs, and resources related to HM Insurance in disaster operations.
  • Identify people and organizations key to HM Insurance and opportunities for collaboration.

If you have any questions on this material after completing this course, contact a HM Insurance Technical Specialist or a HM Insurance Crew Leader. He or she will be able to answer questions or direct you to appropriate resources.

Screen Features

Navigating Using Your Keyboard

Below are instructions for navigating through the course using your keyboard.
  • Use the “Tab” key to move forward through each screen’s navigation buttons and hyperlinks, or “Shift” + “Tab” to move backwards. A box surrounds the button that is currently selected.
  • Press “Enter” to select a navigation button or hyperlink.
  • Use the arrow keys to select answers for multiple-choice review questions or self-assessment checklists. Then tab to the Submit button and press Enter to complete a Knowledge Review or Self-Assessment.
  • Warning: Repeatedly pressing Tab beyond the number of selections on the screen may cause the keyboard to lock up. Use Ctrl + Tab to deselect an element or reset to the beginning of a screen’s navigation links (most often needed for screens with animations or media).
  • JAWS assistive technology users can press the Ctrl key to quiet the screen reader while the course audio plays.

Course Overview

This course contains six lessons.

The rest of lesson 1 focuses on the organization, functions, and information generated by HM Flood Insurance.

Lesson 2, Key Authorities and Programs, addresses the authorities, regulations, and other guidance that relate to the functions of HM Insurance in a disaster operation.

Lesson 3, Key Resources addresses the resources for performing HM Insurance responsibilities including the Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide: Floodplain Management and Insurance, and the HM Disaster Workforce Website.

Lesson 4, Collaboration, focuses on identifying the stakeholders and organizations key to HM Insurance and methods for successful collaboration with those stakeholders.

Lesson 5, Vignette Activities, provides an opportunity to review workshop concepts in the context of a hypothetical disaster.

Lesson 6, Course Conclusion, reviews the key learning objectives of the course and provides the opportunity to take the final exam for this course.

Lesson 1 Objectives

At the conclusion of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Identify where HM Insurance fits in the Hazard Mitigation organization.
  • Identify the functions of HM Insurance.
  • Identify the data HM Insurance provides for NFIP reports and other stakeholders reports.

HM Insurance in the HM Organization

HM Insurance is part of HM Floodplain Management & Insurance.

Four Possible Sub-functions of HM Floodplain Management and Insurance

HM Floodplain Management and Insurance includes up to four sub-functions, depending on the nature and size of the event.

  • HM Floodplain Management – provides technical assistance to promote and facilitate community floodplain management in support of NFIP program objectives and requirements
  • HM Floodplain Management Damage Determination – provides technical assistance to support communities in the collection of damage data, including use of the Substantial Damage Estimator tool or other tools as appropriate, and interpretation of data, all consistent with the requirements of the local Floodplain Management Ordinance
  • HM Insurance – serves as a resource for NFIP flood insurance information for internal Joint Field Office (JFO) staff, state and local officials and citizens
  • HM Insurance Hotline – operates a hotline, when activated, to provide connected customer service with FEMA and to allow the program to more immediately address flood insurance issues that may come up during a disaster for policyholders

Positions within HM Floodplain Management and Insurance

The HM Floodplain Management and Insurance organization has a hierarchy of positions. Staffing varies based on the scope of a disaster and the needs of the communities affected and not all disasters will require all positions.

This graphic shows the hierarchy of positions within Floodplain Management and Insurance, and is not a staffing or organizational chart.

Functions of HM Insurance

HM Insurance has essentially the same roles and functions in every disaster operation. They are:

  • Share and communicate NFIP information
  • Generate flood insurance data for forms, inquiries, and reports

HM Insurance works with a variety of internal and external partners and stakeholders to carry out these functions. The scope and details of each function varies depending on the size and type of disaster event.

These functions are covered on the following screens.

Share and Communicate NFIP Information

HM Insurance has an important role in providing critical NFIP information.

NFIP information delivered by HM Insurance during the disaster should be consistent with the Federal Coordinating Officer’s priorities, the Hazard Mitigation Strategy for the disaster, and the NFIP regulations.

Share and communicate NFIP Information

HM Insurance staff is often the first source of NFIP insurance information for both internal and external entities during a disaster.

HM Insurance interacts with many internal and external stakeholder groups to shares and communicate NFIP information:

Click on the links above for more information HM Insurance interactions with these entities.

HM Insurance shares and communicates NFIP information with HM Community Education and Outreach (CEO) by:

  • Responding to requests for basic insurance information from HM CEO Specialists at Disaster Recovery Centers (DRC) and other outreach venues
  • Assisting individuals visiting a DRC with general and specific flood insurance information; specific information can be provided to a policyholder, e.g. coverage questions and claims process
  • Providing general program information as requested
    • Providing insurance information for publications
    • Helping select and provide NFIP publications for distribution

HM Insurance shares and communicates with JFO External Affairs

Public Affairs, by:

  • Creating and distributing proactive NFIP messaging
  • Promoting the sale and retention of NFIP policies
  • Providing accurate, timely information in response to media requests

Congressional Affairs. by:

  • Providing accurate, timely information to respond to Congressional inquiries and providing NFIP information for Congressional offices

HM Insurance shares and communicates with Individual Assistance (IA) by:

 • Verifying applicants’ policy information

HM Insurance shares and communicates with Public Assistance (PA) by:

  • Providing NFIP policy coverage information
  • Assisting in interpreting private insurance policy information if requested

HM Insurance shares and communicates with Disaster Survivor Assistance by:

• Providing NFIP information and help with claims questions at public meetings

HM Insurance shares and communicates with State/Tribal/Local Officials by:

• Clarifying NFIP Insurance program policies, procedures, and processes

HM Insurance shares and communicates with Flood Insurance Claims Offices and Flood Response Offices by:

  • Establishing and maintaining a dialog with insurance claims offices to address coverage issues for specific policyholders as necessary
  • Establishing and maintaining a dialog with FEMA HQ and the Flood Response Office (FRO), if established, to obtain current damage reports and address specific coverage issues, including requests for re-inspections, that may arise

HM Insurance shares and communicates with Communities by:

Participating in community meetings, to:

  • Answer basic questions on flood insurance
  • Distribute insurance information
  • Promote the NFIP

HM Insurance shares and communicates with Insurance Agents by:

  • Visiting to educate and promote flood insurance
  • Providing guidance on basic insurance questions/issues

HM Insurance shares and communicates with the State Insurance Commissioner’s Office by:

  • Coordinating on insurance issues specific to the state
  • Establishing and staffing a hotline, if requested and authorized, for policy and claims related questions

HM Insurance Interacts with the Regional NFIP Staff/Regional Flood Insurance Liaison (RFIL) by:

  • Recognizing that the Regional Office, particularly the Regional Flood Insurance Liaison as a Subject Matter Expert (SME), maintains up-to-date knowledge of the NFIP Flood Insurance Program including situational awareness of ongoing NFIP Flood Insurance issues and activities within the Region that are specific to current disaster response and recovery efforts.
  • Collaborating with the RFIL and other partners to share information about current NFIP Flood Insurance requirements and regional interpretation of those requirements.
  • Providing the RFIL with progress reports and situational updates regarding ongoing response and recovery flood insurance related activities and accomplishments.

What Do You Think?

With what other internal and external entities might HM Insurance staff interact to provide NFIP flood insurance information and technical assistance?

Reveal the suggested answers.

Suggested answers:

  • Lenders
  • Real Estate Agents
  • Builders/ Developers
  • Voluntary Agencies

HM Insurance shares and communicates with insurance companies and lenders to clarify and resolve insurance questions.

Such interactions always maintain the privacy of policyholders; HM insurance staff do not interpret coverage in claims matters.

Generate Data for Forms, Inquiries, and Reports

In addition to sharing and communicating NFIP information. HM Insurance also produces important insurance-related information, including:

  • Data for the “NFIP Request for Assistance Form”
  • Responses to Congressional Inquiries
  • Data on activities to be included in NFIP and other reports

NFIP Request for Assistance Form

The NFIP Request for Assistance Form is used to document and track inquiries from policy holders. This form is in the Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide: Floodplain Management and Insurance and can be downloaded and saved.

HM Insurance staff may be asked to utilize the aggregate data gathered on the collected forms to provide details on the disaster and affected communities or to suggest possible mitigation strategy to JFO partners, the Region or to HQ.

Responding to Congressional Inquiries

FEMA Congressional Affairs may contact HM Management for assistance with inquiries from Congressional offices. HM Management may request assistance from HM Insurance to answer questions and provide information about flood insurance in response to these inquiries.

Congressional inquiries can be made by phone, email or letter. All require a timely and accurate response.

View a sample Congressional inquiry sent by email and response.

View a sample of a written Congressional inquiry and draft response.

HM Insurance has an operating procedure, “How to Address Floodplain Management- and Insurance-Related Congressional Inquiries/Interests” in Section 4.0 of the HM Field Operations Guide.

Sample Congressional Inquiry (Email)

Email Inquiry





Subject: Flood Insurance Question


Our constituent, [NAME] [ADDRESS], filed a flood insurance claim with __________ Insurance Agency on [DATE] and has never heard from an adjuster. [NAME] has tried several times to contact the agency but has received no response. Is there anything that FEMA can do to help?

Email Response





Subject: RE: Flood Insurance Question


Our Insurance Specialist was able to contact the __________ Insurance Agency on behalf of your constituent, [NAME], and confirmed that an adjuster will contact [NAME] within the next 24 hours to schedule a home visit within the next few days. Please let me know if you need any further assistance.

Sample Congressional Inquiry (Mail)

Congressional Letter

December 7, 2011


Federal Coordinating Officer

Federal Emergency Management Agency

Joint Field Office



Dear [NAME]

This letter is to provide information on behalf of my constituents, [NAME/NAMES], concerning their inability to purchase a flood insurance policy through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for their home on [ADDDRESS]. [NAME] needs a letter from FEMA to make flood insurance available through the NFIP. [NAMES] believe their property was erroneously included in a Coastal Barrier Resource System (CBRS) designated area. Please see the attached letter from [COUNTY], permitting and issuing a Certificate of Occupancy for their property. I appreciate your attention to this matter and I look forward to a quick resolution.



U.S. Senator

Congressional Inquiry Response Letter

December 11, 2011

The Honorable [NAME

United States Senator



Dear Senator Nelson:

This is in response to your letter of December 7, 2011, on behalf of your constituents, [NAMES], providing information concerning the residence constructed in a Coastal Barrier Resource System (CBRS) designated area. [NAMES] requested your assistance in obtaining a letter from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that would make flood insurance available through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for the above-referenced structure located at [ADDRESS]in the CBRS designated area. The Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982 and the Coastal Barrier Improvement Act of 1990 deny the availability of flood insurance coverage through the NFIP, as well as other forms of federal assistance, for structures that were permitted and constructed in CBRS designated areas on or after the date of designation. Based on the information provided by the United States Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, the structure at [ADDRESS] is located in CBRS Unit P21, designated [DATE]. Structures that were permitted and constructed prior to the date of CBRS designation are eligible for NFIP flood insurance until such time as they are Substantially Improved or Substantially Damaged. The information provided by [NAMES] confirms that the structure was permitted by [COUNTY] on [DATE], and that the Certificate of Occupancy was issued on [DATE]; both dates after the CBRS designation. By law, the residence located at [ADDRESS] is ineligible for flood insurance coverage under the NFIP. If this office can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me. Sincerely, [NAME] Regional Administrator CONCURRENCE: SW________BGL________CS__________MPM_______

Data on Activities to be Included in NFIP and Other Reports

Throughout a disaster operation, HM Insurance staff may be asked to report on activities and completion of assigned tasks. They may also be asked to report on issues and trends that may impact the disaster operation.

HM Insurance produces several NFIP reports and data for reports that are used throughout the JFO. These reports are available through FEMA’s Community Information System (CIS). Reports and data include:

Click on the links above for details on this important information.

Community Status Information

The NFIP status of community in the declared counties is published in the NFIP Community Status Book.

NFIP status means a community either:

  • Participates in the NFIP
  • Does not participate in the NFIP
  • Is suspended or sanctioned

The NFIP status has implications for disaster assistance to the community and to its citizens.

Community Specific Data

The community-specific NFIP data includes:

  • Total number of policies in force
  • Total dollar amount of coverage in force
  • Total premium paid
  • Total numbers of claims
  • Numbers of repetitive loss / severe repetitive loss structures
  • Breakdowns of policies per flood-risk zone
  • Other similar summary information

If counties are added to the disaster declaration area, state, county and additional community-specific summary data may need to be generated.

Community Specific Data is available on the CIS, which is accessible through the HM Disaster Workforce Website.

Aggregate Policyholders Data

Individual policyholder data includes information about the insurance policy and claims for a specific property or individual and is protected by the Privacy Act. Individual policyholder information is not available in the CIS.

  • When summarized, the individual policyholder data is not identifiable and not protected by the Privacy Act.

Policyholder data is available through the NFIP’s Bureau and Statistical Agent, which operates BureauNet.

  • BureauNet requires a log-in and password.


This lesson covered:

  • Where HM Insurance fits in the Hazard Mitigation organization
  • The functions of HM Insurance
  • The data HM Insurance provides for NFIP and other reports

Lesson 2 will cover the authorities, regulations, and other guidance that relate to the functions of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) needed to work in HM Insurance.

Lesson 2 Objectives

HM Insurance responsibilities are authorized by laws, regulations, and FEMA guidance. This lesson will enable you to refer to the authorities, regulations, and other guidance that relate to the functions of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) needed to work in HM Insurance.

At the conclusion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • Describe the significance of the key authorities critical to HM Insurance.


Authorities for Flood Insurance

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created to:

  • Provide insurance to individuals living or owning businesses in flood-prone areas
  • Control the development of these areas so that future flood losses are avoided or minimized

The key authorities that govern flood insurance are listed below. Click on each Act for a brief summary of how these laws impact flood insurance.

National Flood Insurance Act, 1968

This Act created the Federal Insurance Administration (FIA) and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), making flood insurance available to communities that adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations. Congress intended to reduce the expenditure of disaster funds by providing an insurance mechanism not available through private sources for at-risk properties (i.e. private insurance companies were not writing flood insurance).

Flood Hazard Boundary Maps (FHBM) developed in conjunction with this law were based on approximate flood areas.

Since the creation of the NFIP, the National Flood Insurance Act has been amended by severa additional Acts; each is intended to clarify or enhance the NFIP.

Flood Disaster Protection Act, 1973

The purpose of the Act was to—

(1) substantially increase the limits of coverage authorized under the national flood insurance program;

(2) provide for the expeditious identification of, and the dissemination of information concerning, flood-prone areas;

(3) require states or local communities, as a condition of future Federal financial assistance, to participate in the flood insurance program and to adopt adequate flood plain ordinances with effective enforcement provisions consistent with Federal standards to reduce or avoid future flood losses; and

(4) require the purchase of flood insurance by property owners who are being assisted by Federal programs or by federally supervised, regulated, or insured agencies or institutions in the acquisition or improvement of land or facilities located or to be located in identified areas having special flood hazards.

Coastal Barrier Resources Act (CBRA), 1982 and 1990

CBRA was enacted to prohibit new Federal financial assistance, including Federal flood insurance and disaster assistance, in designated areas of undeveloped coastal barrier islands off the Atlantic and Gulf coasts.

  • Under the Act, no new development using Federal funding is permitted unless it is unavoidable, and functionally dependent as defined in 44 CFR Part 59.1.
  • US Fish and Wildlife is in charge of CBRA.

National Flood Insurance Reform Act, 1994

This Act strengthened requirements of the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 by clarifying the responsibilities of mortgage lenders and by giving express authority to the lenders to require flood insurance under certain circumstances. Congress passed this Act because mortgage lenders had not been effective in requiring flood insurance for loans for properties in high-risk flood prone areas.

The Act further:

  • Requires people who receive Federal disaster assistance to purchase flood insurance
  • Prohibits people from receiving certain types of Federal disaster assistance if they were required to buy flood insurance on a prior disaster and did not buy the insurance or maintain a policy, or if the community in which they reside does not participate in the NFIP

Increased cost of compliance (ICC) was added as coverage under Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP).

National Flood Insurance Reform Act, 2004

At the time this Act was passed, approximately 1 percent of insured properties accounted for 25 to 30 percent of NFIP claim losses, as repetitive loss properties (two or more NFIP claims of over $1,000 each within a 10 year period).

This Act took steps to reduce the number of repetitive NFIP claims and reduce flood losses and costs associated with insurance claims.

This Act:

  • Authorized the Repetitive Flood Claims (RFC) pilot program.
    • Up to $10 million is available annually for FEMA to provide RFC funds to assist states and communities to reduce flood damages to insured properties that have had one or more claims to the NFIP.
  • Authorized the Severe Repetitive Loss (SRL) program
    • The SRL program provides funding to reduce or eliminate the long-term risk of flood damage to SRL structures insured under the NFIP.

An SRL property is defined as a residential property that is covered under an NFIP flood insurance policy, and:

  • Has at least four NFIP claim payments (including building and contents) over $5,000 each, and the cumulative amount of such claims payments exceeds $20,000; or
  • For which at least two separate claims payments (building payments only) have been made with the cumulative amount of the building portion of such claims exceeding the market value of the building

Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012

This 2012 Act:

  • Eliminated most subsidized premium rates for flood insurance
  • Required development of a process for determining when a flood event has commenced for the purpose of flood insurance coverage
  • Defined substantial improvement as any reconstruction, rehabilitation, addition, or other improvement of a structure, the cost of which equals or exceeds 30 percent of the market value of the structure before the “start of construction” of the improvement
  • Removed limitations on state contributions to updated flood mapping (previously, there was a limit of a 50 percent state contribution to the costs of new flood maps)
  • Required development of flood data on a watershed basis
  • Authorized funding for the NFIP for 5 years, bringing some stability to the program that had been relying on short-term funding extensions for a number of years

Homeowners Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014

This Act repealed and modified certain provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which was enacted in 2012, and made additional program changes to other aspects of the program not covered by that Act. Many provisions of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act remained.

The Act:

  • Lowered rate increases on some policies
  • Prevented some future rate increases
  • Clarified and permitted policies to be grandfathered
  • Implemented a surcharge on all policyholders
  • Repealed certain rate increases that had already gone into effect and provided for refunds to those policyholders
  • Authorized additional resources for the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to complete an affordability study.

The Act requires FEMA to designate a Flood Insurance Advocate to advocate for the fair treatment of NFIP policy holders.

Regulation for Flood Insurance

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) provides the rules for carrying out the laws passed by Congress. It is available in print and electronic forms.

44 CFR, Emergency Management and Assistance, establishes state, Federal, and local government policy and procedures with the National Flood Insurance Program.

Policies and procedures for Federal flood insurance are found in:

  • 44 CFR Part 59:General Provisions – Subpart B
  • 44 CFR Parts 61 to 65
  • 44 CFR Part 73

Before reviewing the relevant 44 CFR provisions, check your knowledge of terms used in these regulations.

Base Flood:

The flood having a 1 percent chance of being equaled or exceeded in any given year

Floodplain Management :

Action to minimize the development of floodplains and reduce the flood risks in existing floodplain development

Base Flood Elevation (BFE):

The anticipated elevation above mean sea level that the base flood is expected to reach


Any area of a building that has its floor sub-grade (below ground level) on all sides

Repetitive Loss Structure:

Any insurable building for which the NFIP paid two or more claims over $1,000 within any rolling ten-year period, since 1978

Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM):

Official map of a community on which FEMA has delineated both the special hazard areas and the risk premium zones applicable to the community

Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA):

Land in any floodplain that is subject to a 1% or greater chance of being flooded in any given year

Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC):

Coverage for expenses a property owner must incur, above and beyond the cost to repair the physical damage the structure actually sustained from a flooding event, to comply with mitigation requirements of state or local floodplain management ordinances or laws (up to the statutory limit of $250.000)

Substantial Improvement:

Improvement that costs equal to or greater than half of the market value of a structure before the improvement

Substantial Damage:

Damage from any source for which the cost of repair is equal to or greater than half of the market value of the structure before the loss

44 CFR

It is important to remember that the NFIP is authorized by law and regulated by the CFR.

There are several flood insurance provisions of 44 CFR that HM Insurance staff reference when performing their duties in a post-disaster environment. These sections cover the regulatory basis of the NFIP.

The next section of this lesson will highlight these sections. While reviewing the highlights, you may want to highlight or flag these sections in a copy of 44 CFR.

The CFR is available online through the HM Disaster Workforce Website or by clicking this link.

44 CFR Part 59: General Provisions – Subpart B

Part 59 of 44CFR:

  •  Identifies floodplain management requirements that communities must satisfy before flood insurance becomes available in their community
  • Outlines situations of noncompliance that may cause a community to be either placed on probation or suspended from NFIP participation

44 Part 61: Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP)

The three Standard Flood Insurance Policy forms are found in 44 CFR Part 61. These forms are:

  • Dwelling: Issued to homeowners, residential renters and condominium unit-owners, owners of residential buildings containing one to four units
  • General Property: Issued to owners of residential buildings with five or more units or owners or lessees of non-residential buildings or units, or residential condominium buildings that are uninsurable under the Residential Condominium Building Association Policy (RCBAP)
  • Residential Condominium Building Association Policy (RCBAP): Issued to condominium associations to insure eligible residential condominium buildings

Part 61 also addresses:

  • Maximum amounts of coverage available
  • Risk premium rate determinations
  • Effective dates and time of coverage
  • Group Flood Insurance Policy (post disaster environment)

44 CFR Part 62: Sale of Insurance and Adjustment of Claims

Part 62 addresses:

  • Issuance of policies
  • Claims adjustment and appeal process
  • Policy requirements of Write Your Own (WYO) insurance companies

44 CFR Part 63: Implementation of Section 1306(c) of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968

Part 63 details:

  • Requirements for relocating or demolishing structures protected by NFIP insurance

44 CFR Part 64: Communities Eligible for Sale of Insurance

Part 64 covers:

  • Community requirements for flood insurance studies and the mapping of flood risks as an eligibility requirement of the sale of flood insurance

44 CFR Part 65: Flood Mapping

Part 65 addresses:

  • Mapping requirements of special flood hazard areas

Flood maps are of particular importance to HM Insurance staff. Flood maps help HM Insurance Staff determine:

  • How a building can be constructed (i.e. to what height the lowest floor must be elevated)
  • Which flood zone to use for rating
  • What policy coverage or restrictions may apply

Flood maps can also help HM Insurance staff assist homeowners in identifying the flood zone of their property.

44 CFR Part 73: Implementation of Section 1316 of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968

Part 73 addresses:

  • Situations that may cause individual policy holders to be denied or lose flood insurance coverage
  • Information that gives the community the leverage to deny coverage to a non-compliant individual without the community losing status in the NFIP

Standard Flood Insurance Policies (SFIP)

In addition to the Parts of 44CFR just covered, the HM Insurance staff’s job also requires an understanding of flood insurance policies and what they cover.

The majority of policy coverage is written through the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) Dwelling Form.

The Dwelling Form is found in the NFIP Flood Insurance Manual in the Policy Section.

SFIP: Policy Period and Deductibles

 A Standard Flood Insurance Policy can only be written for a one year period.

Minimum deductibles for a policy, as well as other available deductible amounts, are provided in the Flood Insurance Manual.

  • The deductible depends on the flood zone in which the building is located, as well as whether the building is pre- or post-FIRM.
  • Policy premiums are directly affected by the amount of the deductible. The higher the policy deductible, the lower the insurance premium.

This Table 8A, from the Rating section of the Flood Insurance Manual, shows minimum deductibles.

SFIP: Property Covered

Section III of the Dwelling Form details the different types of property coverage that are found under the policy.

  • Coverage A – Building Property
  • Coverage B – Personal Property
  • Coverage C – Other Coverages
  • Coverage D – Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC)

These properties and coverages are discussed in the following screens.

The NFIP insures against direct physical loss by or from flood to dwellings, which are:

  • Structures with two or more outside rigid walls and a fully secured roof affixed to a permanent site
  • Manufactured homes/mobile homes built on a permanent chassis, transported to a site in one or more sections, and affixed to a permanent foundation

A manufactured home with the following characteristics is considered an insurable building:

  • A manufactured home without wheels that is built on a chassis and affixed to a permanent foundation
  • A manufactured home that is regulated under the community’s floodplain management and building ordinances or laws

Coverage A: Building Property–Additions and Extensions

Two buildings connected by one of five approved methods are insured as one building. At the insured’s option, additions and extensions may be separately insured.

The approved “connectors” are:

  • Rigid exterior wall
  • Solid load bearing interior wall
  • Stairway
  • Elevated walkway
  • Roof

An advantage to insuring two buildings as one, when approved connectors are present, results because of saving separate policy fees when the combined replacement cost of the building is less than the maximum amount of insurance available under the program.

  • One to four family dwellings can be insured up to $250,000.
  • Writing a single policy will save the insured the cost of two Federal Policy Fees.

The Federal Policy Fee is a charge made on every NFIP flood insurance policy to help offset the cost of running NFIP.

Coverage A: Building Property–Appurtenant Structure

And appurtenant structure is a building of lesser value that is located on the same premises as the main building insured under a property insurance policy.

The only appurtenant structure covered by the Standard Flood Insurance Policy is a detached garage located at the described location.

  • Up to 10% of the building limit of liability can be applied.

The General Property form and Residential Condominium Building Association Policies do not provide coverage for a detached garage.

Coverage A: Building Property–Buildings Under Construction

Buildings under construction can be insured by the NFIP if:

  • The structure is not yet walled and roofed
  • The work is in progress or has been halted no more than 90 days

If the lowest floor used for rating is below the established Base Flood Elevation (BFE), NFIP coverage does not apply until the building is walled and roofed.

Building materials or supplies used in construction are covered as long as they are contained within a fully enclosed building on the premises or adjacent to the premises.

Deductibles for buildings in the course of construction that do not have at least two rigid exterior walls and a fully secured roof at the time of loss are doubled.

Coverage A: Building Property-Items Covered Under Building Property

Items also included under building property coverage include:

  • Awnings and canopies
  • Blinds
  • Built in dishwashers
  • Built in microwave ovens
  • Carpeting permanently installed over unfinished flooring
  • Ranges, cooking stoves and ovens
  • Refrigerators
  • Wall mirrors, permanently installed

Coverage A: Building Property–Basements

The SFIP is very clear about what is covered in a basement.

A basement is defined by the NFIP as any room or portion of a room that has its floor below grade (ground) on all sides.

Covered building elements in basements are listed in the policy and include the following:

  • Sump pumps
  • Well water tanks and pumps, cisterns, and the water in them
  • Oil tanks and the oil in them, natural gas tanks and the gas in them
  • Pumps and/or tanks used in conjunction with solar energy
  • Furnaces, hot water heaters, air conditioners, and heat pumps
  • Electrical junction and circuit breaker boxes and required utility connections
  • Foundation elements
  • Stairways, staircases, elevators, and dumbwaiters
  • Unpainted drywall and ceilings, including fiberglass insulation
  • Basement clean-up

Coverage A: Building Property-Enclosures

Building coverage is restricted in enclosures located below the lowest elevated floor of a post-FIRM building, located in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).

  • Remember, SFHAs are those high-risk areas designated as flood zones beginning with the letter “A” or “V.”

The SFIP is very clear about what is covered in such an enclosure.

They are the same, with the addition of nonflammable insulation, as those covered in a basement.

Coverage B: Personal Property or “Contents”

Personal property or content items are generally those that are considered portable.

Contents coverage is available under the same policy as the building property.

Covered contents are:

  • Inside an enclosed building at the described location
  • Owned by the insured or other family member in the household
  • At the insured’s option, property owned by guests or servants

Coverage B: Personal Property or “Contents”– Special Limits on Coverage of Personal Property

The SFIP will pay no more than $2,500 for any one loss on one or more of the following kinds of personal property:

  • Artwork, photographs, collectibles or memorabilia, including but not limited to porcelain or other figures, and sports cards
  • Rare books or autographed items
  • Jewelry, watches, precious and semiprecious stones, or articles of gold, silver or platinum
  • Furs or any article containing fur that represents its principal value
  • Personal property used in any business

Coverage B: Personal Property or “Contents” Antiques

The SFIP allows only for coverage of the functional value of antiques.

  • For example, if you lost an antique table, you will only receive replacement value for a table, regardless of the value of the antique.

Coverage B: Personal Property or “Contents” Tenant’s Coverage

Tenants may insure their personal property under Coverage B. In addition to other insurable contents items the SFIP will cover cooking stoves or ranges and refrigerators if owned by the tenant.

The policy also will cover improvements made or acquired solely at the expense of the tenant in the dwelling or apartment.

  • This extension of coverage is limited to not more than 10 percent of the contents policy amount.
  • Use of this option reduces the amount of contents coverage.

Coverage C: Other Coverage

Other items covered by SFIP include:

Click on the links above to learn more about coverage for these items.

Important Note: Lumber and plastic sheeting is covered by flood insurance policies only in conjunction with sandbags, levees, and pumps.

Policyholders who used lumber or plastic sheeting to cover windows in preparation for the storm cannot claim reimbursement for these costs.

Debris Removal

The SFIP will pay the cost of removing non-owned debris on or in insured property (the building) and owned debris anywhere.

If the insured or a member of their household performs the removal work, the value of the work will be based on the Federal minimum wage.

Loss-Avoidance Measures

The SFIP will pay up to $1,000 for costs incurred to protect the insured building from a flood or imminent danger of flood, for the following reasonable expenses:

  • Sandbags including sand to fill them
  • Fill for temporary levees
  • Pumps
  • Plastic sheeting and lumber used in connection with these items

The insured and members of the household who perform the work can claim the value of work at the Federal minimum wage.

Property Removed to Safety

The SFIP provides up to $1,000 for the reasonable expenses incurred to move insured property to a place other than the described location that contains the property, in order to protect it from flood or the imminent danger of flood.

If the insured property is moved to a location other than the described location in order to protect it from the peril of flood, coverage will be extended for 45 consecutive days from the date the property was moved. The personal property that is moved must be placed in a fully enclosed building or otherwise reasonably protected from the elements, above ground level or outside of the special flood hazard area.

Coverage D: Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) Coverage

Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) coverage helps to offset the costs associated with compliance with a state or local floodplain management law or ordinance affecting repair or reconstruction of a structure suffering flood damage.

ICC, an important incentive for NFIP policy holders who must mitigate to meet the local floodplain ordinance, includes:

  • $30,000 maximum coverage
  • No deductible
  • A requirement that the total coverage paid cannot exceed the maximum limit set by Congress for the building type (residential or non-residential)

Coverage D: Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) Coverage (con’t)

Recall that when a building located in a SFHA is Substantially Damaged by flood, the NFIP community will require that the building be repaired or rebuilt to meet local floodplain management requirements. A participating community may also adopt Advisory Base Flood Elevation (ABFE) information provided by FEMA in their ordinance.

There are four mitigation options to comply with the community’s floodplain management ordinance and help reduce future flood damage. They can be remembered by the acronym FRED:

  • Floodproofing (non-residential only)
  • Relocation
  • Elevation
  • Demolition

These may be used individually or combined.

The requirements that must be met to trigger ICC are, the:

  • Building must be located in SFHA or other regulated area (such as ABFE) included in the community’s current floodplain management ordinance.
  • Building was damaged by flood (damage from other perils such as wind, fire, etc. is not covered by ICC coverage).
  • Local community must formally declare that the building was substantially damaged. If the damage is caused by multiple perils (wind and flood) and the community supplies information on the market value of the building, the adjuster can determine if the damage is equal to or more than 50% by flood.
  • Building is noncompliant with community’s current floodplain management ordinance.

Coverage D: Increased Cost of Compliance (ICC) Coverage (con’t)

There may be misunderstanding about the circumstances for filing an ICC claim.

  • The NFIP substantial damage definition includes building damage from any origin, such as fire, wind, earthquake, flood, etc.
  • An ICC claim is paid only when the flood component of the damage equals or exceeds 50 percent of the pre-flood market value of the building as determined by the participating community, and the other ICC requirements are met.

NFIP Claims Process

HM Insurance staff explain the NFIP claims process to others. The process is relatively straightforward:

  • The insured party contacts his or her insurance representative – either Direct NFIP or Write Your Own (WYO) company – to begin the claims process.
  • An authorized adjuster inspects the site.
  • An authorized adjuster notifies the insurance company.
  • The insurance company pays the claim and, if a WYO company, submits the claim to NFIP for reimbursement.

The claims process does not typically involve HM Insurance staff unless there is conflict or confusion for the insured.

  • In such cases, the HM Insurance staff may contact the policyholder, the insurance adjuster, or the insurance company, during the claims process.
  • HM Insurance staff should never interpret how a claim is to be adjusted. If HM Insurance staff becomes involved, they merely become conduits of information to facilitate the claim process.
HM Insurance is also likely to deal with the following aspects of the NFIP claims process during a disaster operation. Click on the links for a brief description of each.

Supplemental Payments

Actual Cash Value (ACV)

Supplemental Checks

NFIP Re-inspections


NFIP Flood Insurance Advocate

Supplemental Payments

Within a reasonable amount of time, the insured should receive a copy of the adjuster’s estimate of repair and/or replacement.

The original claims adjustment sometimes may fall short of the actual cost of repair. The insured has the right to request that the claim be reviewed or reopened, if previously closed. Supplemental claim payments may be made after this review.

Actual Cash Value (ACV)

Most SFIP policies are settled on an ACV basis. However, single family dwellings occupied as a primary residence and insured to at least 80 percent of replacement cost qualify for replacement cost coverage.

Settlement Checks

The most common source of concern about accepting an NFIP flood insurance claim settlement is caused by the wording “without recourse” stated on the back of the claim settlement check.

  • This wording is placed by the banking institution and does not waive the rights of the insured to request further payment.

When there is a mortgage on the property, the insured may receive settlement checks payable to both the lender and the insured.

  • In this situation, both parties must endorse the claim check.

NFIP Re-inspections

Sometimes the insured property owner and the claims adjuster or insurance company cannot settle a disagreement.

The insured may make a request through their insurance carrier for a re-inspection by an NFIP General Adjuster or assigned adjuster.

  • An NFIP General Adjuster works for the NFIP and can review a file to make sure it is accurate.

However, the insured is encouraged  work with the adjuster and insurance company in an effort to settle any disagreement.

  • If all else fails, the insured can request an appraisal.


The appraisal process is used when the type or amount of damage is in dispute.

Disagreements about the amount of claim payment are handled by the NFIP and can involve the insured, contractor, insurance adjuster, and insurance company.

  • In the event of an appraisal, the NFIP and the insured will each choose a competent and impartial appraiser.
  • The two appraisers will choose an umpire.

Agreement by any two parties will set the ACV and loss or, if it applies, the replacement cost and loss.

The NFIP and its Write Your Own companies try to make the NFIP flood claim process run as smoothly as possible.

The use of an umpire is seldom, if ever, needed.

NFIP Flood Insurance Advocate

The NFIP Flood Insurance Advocate’s Office may also become involved in the claims resolution process. Check with your supervisor for more information.

Section 24 of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 directed FEMA’s Administrator to establish a Flood Insurance Advocate to advocate for the fair treatment of policyholders under the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and for property owners in the mapping of flood hazards, the identification of risks from flood, and the implementation of measures to minimize the risk of flood.

To provide advocacy assistance to policyholders and property owners, the FEMA Administrator designated a Flood Insurance Advocate, who in turn, established the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate. The Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate is available to the public and staffed by NFIP program professionals who are experts in all aspects of the NFIP, including claims processes, the map review and amendment process, floodplain management, and flood mitigation techniques and resources.

For more information, download a copy of the Flood Insurance Advocate Fact Sheet.



This ends lesson 2. This lesson covered:

  • Flood insurance authorities
  • 44 CFR components relevant to the NFIP
  • Standard Flood Insurance Policy with emphasis on Dwelling Form
  • SFIP Coverage and Exclusions
  • NFIP Claims Process

In lesson 3 you will learn about the key resources available to HM Insurance staff.

Lesson 3 Objectives

In addition to regulations, legislation and program information, there are other resources for staff working in HM Insurance.

At the conclusion of this unit, you will be able to:

  • Recognize key resources related to Insurance in disaster operations.


HM Disaster Workforce Website

The Hazard Mitigation Disaster Workforce Website (HMDWW) provides access to important resources for all Hazard Mitigation staff.

This lesson focuses on the resources for HM Insurance staff:

  • The electronic version of the Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide
  • Other key HM Insurance resources

Access the HM Disaster Workforce Website through the FEMA Intranet. and are also excellent resources.

Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide (HMFOG)

The HMFOG is intended to assist Hazard Mitigation disaster workforce employees to carry out job tasks.

The HMFOG describes how to accomplish the major responsibilities associated with HM Floodplain Management and Insurance.

  • It is intended to be used electronically online.

View “A Brief Tour of the Online Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide (HMFOG)”

Brief Tour of the Electronic Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide (HMFOG): Floodplain Management and Insurance

1. Locate the HMFOG on your computer and open the file.

2. Go to the Table of Contents, beginning on page iii. Point and click on the first section, Introduction to the Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide.

3. Read this Introduction section, which explains the foundation of the HMFOG and provides an overview of its contents.

4. Return to the Table of Contents. Locate and click on HM Floodplain Management and Insurance. The first three parts of this section are:

  • Overview, which briefly describes mission of HM Floodplain Management and Insurance
  •  Functional Responsibilities, which lists the post-disaster functions performed by HM Floodplain Management and Insurance
  • Organization, which describes the sub-functions of HM Floodplain Management and Insurance

5. Return to the Table of Contents. Locate the HM Floodplain Management and Insurance Task Lists. The task lists describe the responsibilities assigned to positions within the HM functional group.

6. Locate and click on the Task List for your assigned position. The major tasks (shaded rows) and subtasks are on the left side. Any relevant operating procedures are listed on the right side.

7. Return to the Table of Contents. Locate HM Floodplain Management and Insurance Operating Procedures and review the list. The operating procedures describe how to accomplish tasks for which the HM functional group is responsible.

8. Locate and click on an Operating Procedure relevant to your assigned position. Every operating procedure includes standard components used to accomplish key activities:

  • Purpose
  • Procedure
  • Resources/Tools

9. Return to the Table of Contents. Locate HM Floodplain Management and Insurance Job Aids and review the list. The job aids help Hazard Mitigation staff implement defined tasks efficiently and effectively. The data collection job aids are not official FEMA forms; they were developed and used by HM Insurance field staff as helpful job tools.

Note: Some job aids are “fillable,” allowing staff to fill out the form and print it. These job aids/ forms can be modified and saved for use without having to recreate the document.

Instructions for Accessing and Downloading Individual HMFOG Job Aids: Floodplain Management and Insurance

1. Go to the Hazard Mitigation Disaster Workforce Website via the FEMA Intranet:

2. In the middle section of the webpage, HM Docs, Links, & Tools, under the HM Functional Areas section, locate and click on Floodplain Management & Insurance.

3. Locate and click on the folder, FPMI – HM Field Operations Guide. The folder contains individual job aid files that can be downloaded and saved to your computer.

Other Key Resources

FEMA and the NFIP have many excellent resources that are invaluable to HM Insurance in a JFO.

Becoming familiar with and knowing how to find these resources is essential to working in HM Insurance.

All of these resources are accessible through the HMDWW or 

Click on the links above to learn more about each of these key resources.

NFIP Insurance Manual

The NFIP Insurance Manual provides details governing the insurance provisions of the National Flood Insurance Program.

NFIP Flood Insurance Claims Handbook

This handbook provides policyholders with tips about what to do before and after a flood, including filing a claim, and the steps involved in appealing a denied claim.

NFIP Bureau and Statistical Agent

This office has access to the FEMA NFIP Regional database, which stores all historic NFIP policyholder and claims data (BureauNet).

  • NFIP BureauNet requires login/id and password.

IMPORTANT: Data collected from the NFIP Bureau and Statistical Agent that includes information related to individual policy holders is strictly confidential and may not be shared.

  • This information can only be shared in a summary format where individual information is not presented.

NFIP Community Status Book

The Community Status Book also provides the following community-specific information:

  • Date of initial Flood Hazard Boundary Map
  • Date of initial Flood Insurance Rate Map
  • Date of current effective map
  • Date entered the NFIP
  • Whether the community is tribal or non-tribal

To identify the NFIP status of different communities, reference the NFIP Community Status Book.

  • Community status can change, so be sure to check the most current information.

Mitigation Best Practices

The FEMA Best Practices Portfolio consists of mitigation stories submitted by individuals and communities that describe measures they have taken to reduce the loss of life and property from disasters.

These Best Practices are meant to provide ideas and concepts about reducing losses and to encourage others to evaluate their own risk and consider mitigation as a long-term solution to reducing that risk.


FloodSmart is the NFIP’s consumer awareness and education campaign to alert property owners to their flood risk, encourage them to contact their insurance agent to protect their property, and ensure their financial security with flood insurance.

  • At, consumers can see an estimate of just how much damage flooding can cause, assess their individual flood risk, and learn more about the claims process. Consumers can also use the “Find an Agent” tool on or call a 1-800 phone number to locate an agent in their area and obtain a flood insurance policy.
  • is designed exclusively for insurance agents. The site offers helpful tips, training information, sales tools and resources created specifically for agents so that they can better serve their clients.

FEMA Map Service Center (MSC)

If a FEMA, state, or local official wants to view the flood map of an area, a copy of the area Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) can be obtained through the FEMA Map Service Center (MSC).

  • This should be coordinated with the Floodplain Management staff at the JFO.
  • The MSC can also be contacted at: 1-877-FEMA-MAP


This concludes lesson 3. This lesson covered:

  • Hazard Mitigation Disaster Workforce Website
  • Hazard Mitigation Field Operations Guide
  • Other HM Insurance resources

Lesson 4 will cover HM Insurance collaboration in disaster operations.

Lesson 4 Objectives

This unit briefly addresses the people and organizations with which HM Insurance staff collaborate on a regular basis.

At the conclusion of this unit, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the people and organizations with whom HM Insurance collaborates.
  • Discuss opportunities and techniques for collaboration with these people and groups to achieve Hazard Mitigation objectives for the disaster.


Collaborating with Key Partners

In all disasters, HM Insurance staff provide flood insurance information and assistance when collaborating with key partners. These key partners include:

  • The public
  • HM co-workers
  • Other JFO organizations
  • State government
  • Local government
  • Tribal government
  • Regional Flood Insurance Liaisons

When collaborating with these groups, HM Insurance:

  • Serves as the JFO point of coordination and resource on all hazards insurance
  • Promotes community participation in the NFIP
  • Helps to ensure compliance with NFIP regulations during disaster response and recovery
  • Provides insurance information to local, state, tribal, and JFO partners

Successful Collaboration

Every interaction is an opportunity to build relationships, educate, and promote mitigation.

  • The foundation for successful collaboration is building good working relationships.
  • The key to building and maintaining relationships is communication.

Building Trust

Trust is essential to successful collaboration and accomplishing FEMA’s mission, and to meeting the goals of Hazard Mitigation. When there is a high degree of trust, people:

  • Openly ask for help and give assistance when needed
  • Are reliable about keeping agreements they make
  • Feel free to express ideas and opinions

This graphic shows the results possible when there is a high degree of trust in a group.

Key among these are positive working relationships and communication and information flow. The following screen describes these results in more detail.

Positive Working Relationships

A high level of trust results in strong positive working relationships.

People are sincere in their concern for one another and are motivated to do what is necessary to work together and get the job done.

When working relationships are strong:

  • Communication and information flow will be strong.
  • People will have access to the critical information they need to do their jobs.
  • People are more likely to honestly assess and provide constructive feedback.

Finally, when communication and information flow are strong, the mission and goals of the organization are more easily accomplished.



The purpose of this activity is to explore the collaboration necessary between HM Insurance staff and other individuals, organizations and groups to accomplish Hazard Mitigation objectives after a disaster.

In this activity, you will be presented with 6 collaboration situations. Read each one and then answer the question below. Click the “submit” button to reveal the suggested answer.

Lesson 5 Objectives

This lesson presents three vignettes that require you to apply what you have learned. It introduces situations that HM Insurance staff may encounter.

At the conclusion of this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Apply concepts and resources covered in the course.



For each vignette that follows, read the scenario and answer the questions that appear on the following screens. Once you have answered a question, select the Submit or Check  button to view correct answers.

Lesson Summary

This concludes lesson 5. This lesson covered:

  • Application of concepts discussed in this course

Lesson 6 will present you with a summary of the course and an opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the basic knowledge need to work in HM Insurance.

Course Summary

This course has covered a large amount of information and has identified important skills needed to be a successful HM Insurance staff member.

The objectives of this course were to enable you to:

  • Describe the functions and products of HM Insurance.
  • Refer to key authorities, programs, and resources related to HM Insurance in disaster operations.
  • Identify people and organizations key to HM Insurance and opportunities for collaboration.
  • Identify some of the “red flags” that indicate a need for special handling or additional collaboration.

Lesson Objectives Review

Recall the subject of each lesson in this course:

  • Lesson 1, Introdution to Functions of HM Insurance, focused on the organization, functions, and information generated by HM Flood Insurance
  • Lesson 2, Key Authorities and Programs, addressed the authorities and regulations of the NFIP that relate to HM Insurance.
  • Lesson 3, Key Resources, addressed the resources, including the HM Field Operations Guide and the HM Disaster Workforce Website, that support HM Insurance.
  • Lesson 4, Collaboration, focused on identifying the stakeholders and organizations key to HM Insurance and methods for successful collaboration with those stakeholders.
  • Lesson 5, Vignette Activities, provided an opportunity to review workshop concepts in the context of hypothetical disaster events.