In a June 7, 2018, FEMA bulletin, W-18013, FEMA discusses several claims process enhancements and claims handling reminders that apply to all claims with a date of loss of June 7, 2018 through December 31, 2018. The enhancements to the NFIP’s claim process are in response to the widespread flooding that occurred in 2017.

You can read the full bulletin here, but here are a few of the highlights and excerpts:

  • NFIP insurers (WYO Companies and NFIP Direct) may offer policyholders advance payments in anticipation of future claim payments in 2 situations: (1) an pre-inspection advance payment of up to $5,000 if certain criteria is met, and (2) an advance payment for significant damages (up to 50% of a contractor’s estimate) if the policyholder provides the insurer with certain information.
  • Handling Claims with Prior Losses
    • NFIP insurers must verify that damages from any prior loss have been repaired before the subject loss occurred and must exclude from the adjustment any unrepaired prior damages. This normally requires the NFIP insurer to obtain and review prior flood claim files prior to adjusting the loss.
    • To expedite the handling of claims, an NFIP insurer may adjust a claim without obtaining a prior flood claim file if there is substantial evidence of completed repairs following a prior flood loss.
  • Wind vs. Flood Loss
    • When adjusting wind/water losses, the adjuster should use established and proven investigative methods to document flood and wind damage to buildings and/or contents occurring during hurricane or storm events. “Wind/Water Investigative Tips” attached to bulletin W-17042 can be helpful.
    • The adjuster is asked to record the process they use when approaching a wind/water claim. In addition to looking for signs of flood damage and/or a general condition of flood and documenting the exterior water line, the adjusters should note any exterior wind damage, such as missing shingles, turbine or fascia damage. The adjuster should also photograph this damage and mention what was observed in the narrative report.
  • Substantial Damage: Adjusters must submit timely Adjuster Preliminary Damage Assessments (APDA) on probable substantially damaged structures following the initial inspection.

The bulletin states it will be “. . .superseded on December 31, 2018. All appropriate claims handling procedures will be documented in the release of the next NFIP Claims Manual which will be located on FEMA.gov at https://www.fema.gov/claims-manual.”

This bulletin will likely be a topic of discussion at next week’s National Flood Conference in Washington, D.C.

  • Gary Rowland

    Shane, It appears that FEMA is promoting the unlicensed practice of public adjusting by allowing the evaluators to document wind damage on what I feel certain will be shared with insurers. People can document damages without licensure. They can even photograph those damages. But when they write their report on their tablets, they become adjusters. Most have no licenses or background in the industry. I performed this job for one season just to see what it was. You sit for a two hour class to learn their way to document what they want, then you are set free to do as many as you can each day.
    It’s the same as last years Florida Emergency Adjusters, no experience, no requirements, and your boss will pay you a lot… all because you are a warm breathing body. This is an excellent job for a Winn Dixie grocery bagger to pick up some quick cash. Maybe we need to license these “adjusters” also.