FEMA released the 2017 Annual Report of the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate. The report is intended to increase transparency, and support the ongoing improvements to the National Flood Insurance Program with the goal of reducing its complexity.
In 2017, the OFIA identified eight primary policyholder and property owner frustrations, which include recommendations that present opportunities for reducing the complexity of FEMA:
- Challenges to Customer Communication During the Claims Process;
- Effectiveness of Map Change Communications;
- Misunderstandings Regarding Zone A;
- Lack of Premium Reduction Following a Lower-level Abandonment of a Building;
- Basement Determination Made at the Time of Loss;
- Lack of Refunds for Duplicate Coverage with Private Insurance;
- Severe Repetitive Loss Mitigation; and
- Lenders Requiring Coverage Where a Claim Would Not Be Paid.
New to this year's report is the identification of two external trends (affordability and complexity of the NFIP) that may require legislative or funding action solutions to resolve.
The issues identified in this report are based on the observations of the roughly 500 inquiries the OFIA received, about 25 percent more than last year's total.
The mission of the OFIA is to advocate for the fair treatment of policyholders and property owners by providing education and guidance on all aspects of the NFIP, identifying trends affecting the public, and making recommendations for program improvements to FEMA leadership. Policyholders and property owners who are confused and frustrated may seek assistance from the OFIA by visiting its webpage and clicking on "Ask the Advocate." Existing NFIP resources should be utilized to address questions related to their flood policies before requesting assistance from the OFIA.