On December 18, 2014, Dennis Kuhns, the Division Director of the Risk Insurance Division of Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) issued Write Your Own (“WYO”) Bulletin W-14062, entitled, “FEMA Announces Launch of the Interim Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate.”

The Bulletin indicates that W. Craig Fugate made the announcement of the launch of the Interim Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate, which is being led by Acting Flood Insurance Advocate, David Stearrett and noted, “[t]he Interim Office will begin work on specialized assistance to citizens and policyholders on National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) issues as well as regional mapping outreach and education support. The Interim Office will operate until a permanent Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate is established.”

The Flood Insurance Advocate will have a wide range of duties:

At launch, the Acting Advocate and staff will focus on assisting the public as they navigate through the NFIP processes by leveraging FEMA resources to address specific public inquiries or concerns. The Acting Advocate will also develop a long-term regional mapping outreach and education strategy to maximize support to the public. The Interim Flood Insurance Advocate office will operate with existing resources, and further expansion is subject to future funding, as FEMA is operating under a Continuing Resolution.

The Bulletin states that the office and position was created, “as part of its commitment to immediately begin providing assistance to homeowners and policyholders.” FEMA notes, as additional funds become available, the interim office will become permanent and that they have “plans to designate a permanent Flood Insurance Advocate and staff.”

Last, the Bulletin notes that, “[i]nitially, the public can reach the Acting Flood
Insurance Advocate by email at insurance_advocate@fema.dhs.gov,” but recommends that policyholders continue to work with their insurance agents to resolve and issues related to flood insurance.

While I think that any additional support FEMA can give to policyholders helps, I’m not sure this new position will solve all of the problems that have come to light, but time will tell. Here’s to hoping it works and that homeowners can get back in their homes and back to their normal lives faster after a disaster.

As always, I’ll leave with you with a (very mildly) related tune, and since it’s the season, here’s one of my all-time favorite holiday songs, Darlene Love’s Christmas (Baby Please Come Home):