The National Flood Insurance Program is a tough federal insurance program. There is a recent case which was thrown out of court because the policyholder tried to do it himself. [1] It is another example that when FEMA officials say the government Is there to help with your flood claim, you will find out differently very quickly if you disagree with them on anything.

The policyholder claimed that he was underpaid by the flood insurance carrier.  This is a fairly common scenario in any claims situation. The problem with the National Flood Insurance Program is that the laws and regulations are all skewed to be anti-citizen and anti-consumer.  There are many hurdles to overcome to prove your case and the deadlines to file the paperwork to preserve your right to challenge the insurance company’s assessment are high and quick.

In this case, the lawsuit was filed in state court rather than federal court and the date was missed to file the suit in federal court.  Dismissing the case, the judge noted the following: [2]


“within one year after the date of mailing by … the participating Write-Your-Own Company … of the notice of disallowance or partial disallowance of the claim may, pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 4072, institute an action on such claim against the insurer only in the U.S. District Court for the district in which the insured property or the major portion thereof shall have been situated.




An SFIP claimant must comply with the terms and conditions mandated by federal law to receive payment under the policy. See Flick v. Liberty Mut. Fire Ins. Co., 205 F.3d 386, 394 (9th Cir. 2000) (“Because flood losses, whether insured by FEMA or by a participating WYO insurer, are paid out of the National Flood Insurance Fund, a claimant under a standard flood insurance policy must comply strictly with the terms and conditions that Congress has established for payment.”): see also Cohen v. Allstate Ins. Co., 924 F.3d 776, 780 (5th Cir. 2019) (“Those seeking public funds are held to a demanding standard and are expected to comply with statutory requirements.”). “


If you have a National Flood Insurance Program policy, my advice is to hire a public adjuster right away to help you. There have been no extensions to file proofs of loss this year. I would suggest that those who are running this program think about stopping regulating by the letter of the law and rather than by the spirit of this insurance program.  The program was designed to help people when they need money and not be an impossible fight. Congress needs to look into this recurrent problem area.

Thought For The Day 

“Culture is more important than rules and regulations.“

Ruth Porat


[1] Jack C. Gunvordahl v. Selective Insurance Company of the Southeast, No. 3:20-CV-03015-RAL, 2020 WL 6914607 (D.S.D. Nov. 24, 2020)

[2] Id. at *3.