Private flood insurance market is a lifeboat as NFIP struggles to keep head above water

Private flood insurance market is a lifeboat as NFIP struggles to keep head above water | Insurance Business

Private flood insurance market is a lifeboat as NFIP struggles to keep head above water

When Hurricane Florence hit the southeastern US, it submerged not only homes and business, but also the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which could see losses from Florence-related damage of around $800 million to $1.2 billion, according to estimates from global risk modeling firm Risk Management Solutions (RMS).

The Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association (WSIA) has kept a close watch on federal legislators and regulators as they work on issues impacting the private flood insurance market, such as the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act, which will also be a topic of discussion at the Flood Risk Summit in Miami on November 29.

“By the time we have the panel, that’ll be just a couple of days before the NFIP is set to expire,” said Keri Kish, director of government relations for WSIA and a speaker at the upcoming Flood Risk Summit in Miami.

“We may or may not have had some agreement at that point in time on how they want to reauthorize and potentially reform the NFIP, if that’s going to happen before the end of this congressional session or if there’s just going to be a claims extension, like has happened seven other times already, before the new congress starts next year and whether or not the Flood Insurance Market Parity and Modernization Act is going to be a part of those negotiations, which is the private flood legislation we’ve all been anxious to see passed.”

While the NFIP struggles to keep its head above water as flood risk grows, the private market has been a lifeboat for clients who need to buy flood insurance.

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“The private market, especially the surplus lines industry, which is the group that we represent, are doing what they’ve always done – acting as a supplemental option for those that are required to purchase the insurance, and especially when they want to go above and beyond what the NFIP offers,” said Kish. “I think more of the private market is trying to be available as an alternative to the NFIP when they are able to.”

Insurance professionals attending the Flood Risk Summit will get insight on the inner workings of federal legislation and the private market’s contribution to this space.

“They should better understand the state of the NFIP, the role that the private market is playing in regards to offering alternatives to the NFIP, as well as options for individuals not required to participate in the NFIP,” explained Kish, adding, “The networking opportunities for individuals and firms who are already in this area will be well-served.”

Take a deeper dive into this issue at Flood Risk Summit on November 29.