Update: Losing a home to flood… without water?

Bad News / Good News


First- the Bad News

  • Working through a situation like the one we found ourselves in takes a lot of time.
  • Your local insurance agent may turn out to be a huge disappointment. Ours, for example, was oblivious to National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) product, procedures, and updates. This agent also lacked the common courtesy of calling to apprise us of the catastrophic change in our policy, and never offered to help with finding a solution to our problem. If you are looking for a flood insurance policy, be sure to quiz the agent ahead of time, if possible, to determine if he or she will support you with potential flood policy challenges.****
  • Finding answers isn’t easy. Be prepared to spend hours looking at FEMA National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) documents. They are fluid and continually being updated. Be certain you look at the newest version.
  • Getting an Elevation Certificate doesn’t guarantee a solution to your problem.
  • Be prepared to get confused. Especially if your home was approved for construction based on an older FIRM map. If the initial mapping was wrong or the scaling was off (as determined when new FIRM is overlaid with the old map) the Clear Communications of Risk ruling may nullify the legitimacy of the older map and declare that you have always been in a flood zone. THAT is where your challenges begin!
    • It may be possible that a policy change could occur without your knowledge according to our insurance carrier.

Second- the Good News

  • For this policy year- we were able to finally get our premium lowered from $9,197 to $475! It took six weeks of research and phone time to get accomplished.
  • Although our local agent was pathetically inept, that was not the case when the national headquarters for our carrier was contacted. A flood insurance-trained expert took an interest in the case and stuck with us until a resolution was satisfactorily achieved. Patience and calmly working through the challenges were key factors. Our expert was proactive, professional, and empathetic.
  • A key breakthrough occurred when a representative at the FEMA Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate provided guidance. Her information coupled with our carrier’s flood-trained expert’s understanding what to do with the information lead to subsequent premium reductions until we finally achieved a solution.
  • The elevation certificate did not place our structure above the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) on the new Flood Insurance Rating Map (FIRM). But it did provide information that helped to reduce the premium rating for this policy year.
  • We are still concerned and puzzled by the Clear Communication of Risk to policyholders effect on correct underwriting of flood insurance policies. Apparently FEMA will follow a two-part phased approach for renewals that started October 2016.

What Next?

We are grateful to have our original flood insurance policy reinstated with an affordable premium rate for this policy year. Not only did we achieve a premium that we can afford, but more importantly, we have a year to figure out where we stand as homeowners and to find a clear answer to the question:

Has our home been flooded… without water… and lost its value?

Over the coming year we plan to:

  • organize Community outreach within the structure of Friends of Glencoe Swale to determine who else along the Swale is adversely impacted by the newly adopted FIRM;
  • schedule appropriate meetings to best address the needs of concerned homeowners;
  • contact  Hillsboro Public Works department to share concerns and seek avenues for information-sharing and problem-solving as possible;
  • learn if infrastructure changes are possible to bring about potential FIRM corrections.


****BE AWARE- the Oregon requirements to sell flood insurance is pathetic:

The federal act directs the Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in cooperation with the insurance industry, state insurance regulators, and other interested parties, to establish minimum training and education requirements for all insurance producers who sell flood insurance policies. FEMA and state-approved continuing education providers offer and are continuing to develop courses related to the NFIP. An insurance producer who sells flood insurance may satisfy the minimum training and education requirements by completing a course that is related to the NFIP and is approved for three hours of continuing education credit by the Oregon Insurance Division. The failure to comply with this continuing education requirement may jeopardize the producer’s authority to write flood insurance through the NFIP. Determination of compliance falls with the scope of the federal government’s authority.

Starting October 1, 2007, applicants for new and renewal resident producer licenses to sell property insurance who also want to sell flood insurance shall demonstrate that they have completed a one-time minimum three-hour continuing education course about the federal flood insurance program. Resident producers who are licensed to sell property insurance on September 30, 2007, and who sell flood insurance under the license may continue to sell flood insurance until the date of their next license renewal without proof they have completed the one-time continuing education requirement. The Division recommends that producers who sell flood insurance take additional continuing education about flood insurance after meeting the one-time requirement.

Related post: Losing a home to flood… without water?