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|DHS/FEMA||RIN: 1660-AB06||Publication ID: Fall 2021|
|Title: National Flood Insurance Program: Standard Flood Insurance Policy, Homeowner Flood Form|
The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), established pursuant to the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968, is a voluntary program in which participating communities adopt and enforce a set of minimum floodplain management requirements to reduce future flood damages. This proposed rule would revise the Standard Flood Insurance Policy by adding a new Homeowner Flood Form and five accompanying endorsements. The new Homeowner Flood Form would replace the Dwelling Form as a source of coverage for one-to-four family residences. Together, the new Form and endorsements would more closely align with property and casualty homeowners' insurance and provide increased options and coverage in a more user-friendly and comprehensible format.
|Agency: Department of Homeland Security(DHS)||Priority: Other Significant|
|RIN Status: Previously published in the Unified Agenda||Agenda Stage of Rulemaking: Proposed Rule Stage|
|Major: Yes||Unfunded Mandates: No|
|CFR Citation: 44 CFR 61|
|Legal Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4001 et seq.|
Statement of Need:
The National Flood Insurance Act requires FEMA to provide by regulation the general terms and conditions of insurability applicable to properties eligible for flood insurance coverage. 42 U.S.C. 4013(a). To comply with this requirement, FEMA adopts the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) in regulation, which sets out the terms and conditions of insurance. See 44 CFR part 61, Appendix A. FEMA must use the SFIP for all flood insurance policies sold through the NFIP. See 44 CFR 61.13.
The SFIP is a single-peril (flood) policy that pays for direct physical damage to insured property. There are currently three forms of the SFIP: the Dwelling Form, the General Property Form, and the Residential Condominium Building Association Policy (RCBAP) Form. The Dwelling Form insures a one-to-four family residential building or a single-family dwelling unit in a condominium building. See 44 CFR part 61, Appendix A(1). Policies under the Dwelling Form offer coverage for building property, up to $250,000, and personal property up to $100,000. The General Property Form ensures a five-or-more family residential building or a non-residential building. See 44 CFR part 61, Appendix A(2). The General Property Form offers coverage for building and contents up to $500,000 each. The RCBAP Form insures residential condominium association buildings and offers building coverage up to $250,000 multiplied by the number of units and contents coverage up to $100,000 per building. See 44 CFR part 61, appendix A(3). RCBAP contents coverage insures property owned by the insured condominium association. Individual unit owners must purchase their own Dwelling Form policy in order to insure their own contents.
FEMA last substantively revised the SFIP in 2000. See 65 FR 60758 (Oct. 12, 2000). In 2020, FEMA published a final rule that made non-substantive clarifying and plain language improvements to the SFIP. See 85 FR 43946 (July 20, 2020). However, many policyholders, agents, and adjusters continue to find the SFIP difficult to read and interpret compared to other, more modern, property and casualty insurance products found in the private market. Accordingly, FEMA proposes to adopt a new Homeowner Flood Form.
The new Homeowner Flood Form, which FEMA proposes to add to its regulations at 44 CFR 61 appendix A(4), would protect property owners in a one-to-four family residence. Upon adoption, the Homeowner Flood Form would replace the Dwelling Form as a source of coverage for this class of residential properties. FEMA would continue to use the Dwelling Form to insure landlords, renters, and owners of mobile homes, travel trailers, and condominium units. Compared to the current Dwelling Form, the new Homeowner Flood Form would clarify coverage and more clearly highlight conditions, limitations, and exclusions in coverage as well as add and modify coverages and coverage options. FEMA also proposes adding to its regulations five endorsements to accompany the new Form: Increased Cost of Compliance Coverage, Actual Cash Value Loss Settlement, Temporary Housing Expense, Basement Coverage, and Builder’s Risk. These endorsements, which FEMA proposes to codify at 44 CFR 61 appendices A(101)-(105), respectively, would give policyholders the option of amending the Homeowner Flood Form to modify coverage with a commensurate adjustment to premiums charged. Together, the Homeowner Flood Form and accompanying endorsements would increase options and coverage for owners of one-to-four family residences.
FEMA intends that this new Form will be more user-friendly and comprehensible. As a result, the new Homeowner Flood Form and its accompanying endorsements would provide a more personalized, customizable product than the NFIP has offered during its 50 years. In addition to aligning with property and casualty homeowners' insurance, the result would increase consumer choice and simplify coverage.
Anticipated Costs and Benefits:
FEMA estimates that this rulemaking would result in an increase in transfer payments from policyholders to FEMA and insurance providers in the form of flood insurance premiums, and from FEMA to policyholders in the form of claims payments. Additionally, this rulemaking would result in benefits to policyholders, insurance providers, and FEMA, mostly through cost savings due to increased clarity and expanded coverage options. It would also help the NFIP better signal risk through premiums, reduce the need for Federal assistance, and increase resilience by enhancing mitigation efforts. Lastly, one increase in costs for FEMA will be for expenditures on implementation and familiarization of the rule.
|Regulatory Flexibility Analysis Required: No||Government Levels Affected: None|
|Included in the Regulatory Plan: Yes|
|RIN Data Printed in the FR: No|
Lead Management and Program Analyst
Department of Homeland Security
Federal Emergency Management Agency
Insurance Analytics and Policy Branch, 400 C Street SW,
Washington, DC 20472