The Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) has established the Interim Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate, effective December 22, 2014, which will be led by the Acting Flood Insurance Advocate, David Stearrett. The Advocate’s position was created by the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HIFIAA). The Acting Flood Insurance Advocate and Interim Office will operate until a permanent Flood Insurance Advocate is designated pursuant to HIFIAA, subject to budget resources. The Interim Office is an independent office within FEMA’s Federal Insurance and Mitigation Administration (FIMA), Office of the Associate Administrator and has direct access to the FEMA Administrator.
FEMA’s web site provides this additional information regarding the role of the Flood Insurance Advocate:
Recent law provided for a Flood Insurance Advocate to help educate property owners about individual flood risks, flood mitigation and measures to reduce rates through effective mitigation, the rate map review and amendment process and changes in the program as a result of any newly enacted laws.
The Flood Insurance Advocate is designated by the FEMA Administrator and will coordinate outreach and education with local officials and community leaders in areas affected by map amendments and revisions build regional capacity and aid potential policy holders in obtaining and verifying accurate rate information when purchasing or renewing a policy. The Flood Insurance Advocate will also assist in understanding how to appeal preliminary rate maps and how to implement measures to mitigate evolving flood risks.
FEMA has also provided answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the Flood Insurance Advocate.
Finally, FEMA states that initially, the public can reach the Acting Flood Insurance Advocate by email, at email@example.com. In the next month, the Flood Insurance Advocate will establish a phone number to receive inquiries from the public. FEMA recommends that policyholders continue to also work with their insurance agents to resolve any questions or concerns that they have related to flood insurance, or contact Floodsmart at 1-888-379-9531.