Dialogue about Flood Insurance

Robert, thanks for getting back to us so quickly, we are still we are still waiting for other quotes but can you tell me what makes these costs so low?

flood Nerd Private vs NFIP

Jason great question, the short answer is this option that I found for you through my shopping of all of our many private market flood insurance options and the government or National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). He’s a bit more about the flood Insurance market

There are really only two types of flood insurance policies

NFIP Vs. Private flood

1) The NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program NFIP administred though FEMA Federal Emergency Management Agency which is also known as the government option (they were the only players in flood insurance since 1969 and have had a 50-year monopoly). The NFIP policy is a one-size-fits-all. And for decades, the NFIP has over-charged 50 percent of its policyholders and under-charged the other 50 percent, while it has racked up $42 billion in taxpayer-funded losses, equating to more than half of every claim paid by the NFIP since 1978.

And

2) The Private Flood Insurance (usually through Lloyds of London) however was written into law with BW12 (2012) as the government officials try to control the rising cost of flood insurance for property owners, and as the market continues to develop there are a few other options for those who need to buy flood insurance (because of a loan). Basically the Private flood insurance market brought competition to the NFIP (they don’t like this) but the private flood insurance market uses the latest technology and computer modeling to rate on risk maps and will look at each property individually for rating a property resulting in lower cost for property owners and you are one of the recipients of this.

Flod Nerd vs private flood vs FEMA

We are a flood insurance agency ONLY. We only write flood insurance most agent (especially local agents) are a generalist and write whatever they can get. Mostly Auto and home. We know what is happening in the flood insurance market and shop all options to get our clients the best coverage at the best price. Sometimes the NFIP is the best option for a property, more often then not a private market flood insurance policy is the best fit, and if you have been with the private market flood insurance for a while there might be other options out there.

Yes Start Sopping for me

The private flood insurance market is still growing, we will shop all the options available in your state and help you understand the NFIP policy Vs. the Private flood Insurance options (we the only National flood insurance company that shops all viable options), so we will shop the policy until we get a premium we think is fair for your property this does take some time for some properties but most we can place rather quickly.

In your properties (unless you have an Elevation Certificate) the private market is going to be your best option.

As for your neighbor paying only $560 a year, I am sure this is because they are in a Flood zone X (considered moderate to low-risk) your property is showing up as an AE flood zone map (considered higher-risk).

A flood insurance rate maps, AE flood maps, and V flood zone maps are examples of high-risk flood zone maps, and if your property is located in one of these then your lender likely will require you to purchase a flood insurance policy as a requirement to get a loan to get your home.

There are other factors that you will need to consider about your neighbors home, and the rate they are getting.

They might be covering less, no contents or lower coverage or they might have a really high deductible, their building might be elevated, or newer or grandfathered giving them access to government-subsidized premiums. However, I think they are likely in an X flood zone or elevated.

And looking at the Map below I think the X zone.

Flood Insurance rate map

Here is how you can understand this map.

The map indicates where the property line is,  the light blue is AE (or High risk or SFHA flood zone) and if your structure is in this area your lender likely will require you to have flood insurance. The orange is considered an *X500 which the lender is not likely to require flood insurance the Attached PDF which is called a Flood Zone Determination (FZD) is what your lender will pull to let them know if they have to require flood insurance.

What a FZD looks like
What a flood zone determination looks like

There are still some things we can do to make sure we are looking at the property from all angles. This only applies if we are going through the NFIP policy.

For NFIP See if you can find or GET an Elevation Certificate

1) You can ask if the current owner has an Elevation certificate (EC) official name but sometimes people call them “Flood Cert” which is not the official name but means the same thing (however we have found that some people think the “FZD” (Image of the document above) is an “EC” or “Flood Cert” however it is not.

An Elevation Certificate looks like this and will give a bunch of number (elevations) of different areas around your property. Like the lowest floor, where machinery is located, where the lowest area where the outside dirt touches your structure and the highest place where the outside dirt touches the building. These are Called LAG (Lowest adjacent grade) and HAG (Highest adjacent grade). A good EC will contain photos of the building and great one have photos of the inside too. They are usually 3, 5 or more pages long.

Elevation Certificates are typically used for rating a NFIP policy vs Private flood insurance however some private flood compaies are asking to see them and if there is one you should provide it to us to assist in our shopping.

Elevation Certificates
Example of an Elevation Certificate

If they have an elevation Certificate please send along and we can see if once applied we get a better rate. And if they don’t have one you should ask the seller to give you money toward one they can be anywhere from $600 – $1200 to get one.

See if you can find or GET an NFIP Declaration page also called DEC page from the current owner.

2) Another option is to see if the current owner has a flood policy on the property now, sometimes they may have some grandfathered subsidized policy and if you are working with a flood expert or flood nerd or even a local agent that understands how to property write flood insurance policies we can “port over” their premium to your new policy and keep their same premium, however, this is a bit more tricky and really need someone who knows how to do this.

Below is an example of what a DEC page should look like.


Dialogue about Flood Insurance

Robert, you really are a NERD (he he) thanks for this information we want to work with you wants the next step.

Private flood Insurance companies

Private flood insurance market is an alternative to the federal government or NFIP.

There is a company out there called Private Market Flood and is one example of a company that offers policies other than the government policy. This companies CEO has done a lot for the market testified on capitol hill trying to educate our senators about this alternative. You see the NFIP has had a 50-year monopoly so we need to make sure people understand there are options. Their policy matches the coverage offered by the NFIP and they do have some interesting options such as Rate-Lock and Floodready. Their backing company is Lexington Insurance Company, an AIG company.  There are other a few advantages and disadvantages to this policy that you need to understand. Sometimes they are less then the NFIP policy and sometimes the NFIP if rated correctly can be more favorable this is way we shop all options to get you the best coverage.  They will consider properties that have had a flood loss (case by case).  They write nationally so they like us.

Yes Start Sopping for me

Superior flood vs governemnt

Let’s look at some of the Lloyds of London Flood Insurance options. ONE thing to know is there are many Lloyds of London options and more are coming to market every day. Many are what I call “me too” products meaning they are copying what other companies have already created but below are some we work with and are watching because they are pushing this market.

Another company is called NCIP (not to be confused with N”F”IP)

They are a “Lloyds syndicate or coverholder” and are really competitive primarily in the A flood zone. This policy has limited coverage for contents in the basement (NFIP does not any contents in the basement). Offers what is called Loss-of-use; can pay on Replacement Cost; Can cover higher than the NFIP limits (both case by case). Does not penalize property owners that second homes (like the NFIP does). Writes both Residental and Commercial flood policies, can line item any other structures on your parcel, (note you need to make sure you discuss this with your agent to make sure all structures are covered), can write multiple properties on one policy. They don’t take everything and can be a bit choosy about what they will accept. Usually will pass on anything that has had a flood loss but will consider if you put in an app. We shop all options so if this one works for your property we will offer it. If not written correctly there might be a co-insurance penalty (I intend to write a blog post on this because it is too much to explain here). This is why you need an agent that is an expert and not a dabbler to make sure you have good coverage. There are a few other nuances to this option. But overall we give it a big thumbs up. Oh and the CEO is wicked smart, very nice and a hoot to watch in the room when we challenge the NFIP norm. They write nationally.

Yes Start Sopping for me

Another Lloyds of London private flood coverholder is called Superior

This policy is solid and very competitive in A flood zones. This policy has the best coverage for the basement contents and will cover on Replacement Cost, they can be very picky about what properties they will offer to cover however, can offer higher coverage (on case by case) offers limited loss of use, offers limited other structures, writes both Residental and commercial is very competitive on commercial if you can get his policy. Might write something one year and then “not renew next year” leaving you to shop yourself unless you are working with us. CEO is driving the industry, Down to earth OHIO guy.

Some newer policies we are watching are underwritten by a Lloyds of London syndicate called CHUBB we have seen them be very competitive in V flood zone (finally relief for our oceanfront properties). They will only cover on Replacement Cost of residential meaning you can’t get a policy for just your loan amount (which I don’t really endorse but seems to be what people want) Only have a residential option for right now. Suppose to have a competitive X flood zone product.

There are a few other Lloyds of London flood Insurance synidicatew we work with, named Lockton (only in CO and NM)

As for working with us we would be honored if we get your business, although we are more interested in educating around the subject of flood insurance and if you come away from this email/blog post with a bit more knowledge and are now a savvy buyer of flood insurance policies either private vs NFIP we feel like we have done our job.

AT your service kind regards Your flood Nerd.

Ok, so we might be a bit sad if you choose not to work with us…..