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National Disaster

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Resources for Legal Aid Professionals

Flood Insurance & Related Issues

National Flood Insurance Program 

  • For information about the National Flood Insurance Program, click here. The Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate Fact Sheet is intended to provide information on the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate. 
  • This FEMA page contains a list of links to the current edition and previous editions of the National Flood Insurance Program Claims Manual
  • For a fact sheet on the National Flood Insurance Program's (NFIP) improvements to the claims process, click here.
  • Due to the issues that arose with Sandy, the NFIP has been transformed.  Please see NFIP Transformation for information about the new process.  The 2016 Flood Insurance Advocate Report is now available. 
  • After a flood you must file a Proof of loss claim with your flood insurance carrier within 60 days of the event. This deadline may be extended, as it was after Sandy and the Colorado Floods. 

Filing a Flood Insurance Claim

  • A source for information on all types of insurance and help navigating the entire process can be found at United Policyholders.
  • Look to for information on how to file a flood insurance claim.
  • Here is a flood Insurance "proof of loss" form. You can order copies over the phone at 1-800-480-2520. However, the adjusters should have this form and will assist client's with the completion, although it should be reviewed by any attorney assisting them. For more information, click here.
  • A form letter to request an insurance file from the Touro Law clinic is available here.
  • There is a strict compliance requirement regarding this proof of loss. A good law blog on this topic is available here.
  • If you are denied for flood insurance, you may appeal to FEMA within 60 days of your notice.
  • The Flood Insurance Adjuster Claim Manual can provide useful insight into the stated grounds for denial and help you better prepare for your appeal or lawsuit. 
  • The updated, effective April 2015, NFIP Flood Insurance Manual is primarily for insurers and brokers.   
  • If you don't get relief from that, you must file suit against your insurance carrier, not FEMA, within one year of your first denial, in the appropriate Federal Court. This requirement was not extended for Sandy, due to its origin in the Statute.
  • Current version of the National Flood Insurance Program law is available here.
  • A Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (Biggert-Waters) overview is found here.
  • A list of flood insurance resources from FEMA is available.
  • The applicable CFR is found here.  Many provisions of the Biggert-Waters Act have been put on hold in 2014.  An overview of the Affordability Act from FEMA is found here.
  • Touro's Legal Clinic has help to provide in this area.
  • You can look at their Disaster Law and Policy Blog.
  • Materials produced by Touro are available here.
  • NJ Federal Courts have sped up Flood cases with new local rules.
  • Write Your Own Bulletins - National Flood Insurance Program 
  • Weathering the Storm: What You Need to Know About Flood Insurance by the Center for Urban Pedagogy 

What's interesting?

  1. Time to file claim might be extended after a disaster.
  2.  If it is, you might end up having a lawsuit deadline before your proof of loss is due.
  3. Ground movement is exempted from National Flood Insurance Policies, which can cause a problem in coastal areas. Solution: NY used some of their CDBG funding to help people who were denied by the flood insurance policies, so they could still rebuild.
  4.  FEMA will file to have themselves dismissed from any Flood Insurance lawsuit, sue the insurance carrier, not FEMA.

The Disaster Legal Aid National Advisory Group consists of experts in disaster legal response from the Legal Services Corporation, American Bar Association, legal services organizations and law schools. If you are a pro bono or legal services attorney working on a disaster-related case, the Advisory Group is here to help! Please visit the Advisory Group page for information on the group, group members and how to contact the group with inquiries.