Flood Insurance and Ice Jam FloodingIceJam


Ice jams on the Connecticut River and Housatonic River this winter may have prompted some questions from property owners on insurance coverage from flooding due to such events.


Homeowner's Insurance

Property owners with damage due to an ice jam should contact their insurance company to determine coverage.  Be advised that most homeowner's policies will NOT cover structural or contents damage due to flooding.  Many homeowner's insurance policies do not cover damage to docks, piers, or retaining walls caused by the weight of ice.  It is advised that property owners always consult with their insurance company since each homeowner's policy may contain different exclusions.  When in doubt, submitting a claim may be the best way to determine if there is coverage available.


Flood Insurance - Policy In Effect

Property owners with a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) with damage should contact their insurance agent to initiate a claim.  Itemize possessions and document the damage, particularly structural damage, thoroughly with multiple photographs, date and time stamped if possible.


Keep in mind the definition of a "flood" under a NFIP policy that must be met to make a claim:


Flood - A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder's property) from: 

  • Overflow of inland or tidal waters; or
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
  • Mudflow, or
  • Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.


With this definition of "flood", property owners are encouraged to take pictures of flooding on adjacent properties and roadways to show that at least two properties have been flooded.  The definition also does not mention ice damage.  Residents are encouraged to take pictures of flood water before it freezes to prove damage by flooding.  An NFIP flood insurance policy does not cover damage to docks, piers, decks or retaining walls.  These FEMA publications may be helpful to property owners filing a claim or seeking more information:



Flood Insurance - No Policy In Effect

Ice jams are NOT considered in the mapping of floodplains on FEMA's flood insurance rate maps (FIRM).  Ice jam flooding can be unpredictable and happen very quickly.  It is important for property owners near watercourses to know that flooding can occur outside the mapped floodplain due to the unusual circumstances created by an ice jam.


All communities in Connecticut participate in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  As such, all property owners, both within and outside the mapped 100-year floodplain, can purchase a flood insurance policy through the NFIP.  Property owners within the mapped 100-year floodplain with a federally-backed mortgage are required by the lender to maintain flood insurance coverage.  Property owners located within the mapped 100-year floodplain without a mortgage may purchase a policy if they do not currently have one in effect.  Property owners located outside the mapped 100-year floodplain can also purchase a flood policy and may be eligible for a Preferred Risk Policy (PRP) costing approximately $300-$500 per year.  Many insurance companies write flood insurance policies for the federal government.  Property owners may also contact the insurance company for their homeowner's policy as they usually will be able to write a flood insurance policy through the NFIP. 


FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) can be viewed at the FEMA Map Service Center (MSC) to determine the flood risk for a property.  There is a 30 day waiting period before a new policy takes effect.  If a flood insurance policy is needed for the closing of a mortgage, the policy will go into effect at the time of closing.  A new policy is not retroactive and will not cover any damages which incurred before the policy takes effect.     

What happens if there is a lapse in the NFIP?NFIPLapse
On March 23, 2018, the President signed legislation passed by Congress extending the authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) until July 31, 2018.  What happens if there is a lapse in the NFIP authority?  Such a lapse in authority would significantly impact the program's normal operation.  No new flood insurance policies could be written.  Current policies can not be renewed.  This can have a significant effect on property sale closings and available coverage during flood events.    
New "Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves" ReportMitigationSaves
On January 11, 2018 the National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) released Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: 2017 Interim Report, an updated and expanded version of their 2005 study, Natural Hazard Mitigation Saves: An Independent Study to Assess the Future Savings from Mitigation Activities. The original study showed that $1 spent on mitigation saves society an average of $4 in future disaster costs.  Due to the inclusion of additional data and analyses, the 2017 Interim Report shows that the return is actually higher than previously thought.

The publication The Economist has also released a socio-economic analysis titled Flood Economics that highlights the benefits of mitigation.  The benefits of flood mitigation go beyond dollars and cents. The Economist Intelligence Unit found that investment to make homes and infrastructure more flood-proof returns positive economic, environmental, and social benefits for communities. Their analysis highlights the flood mitigation actions, challenges and benefits for eleven flood-affected communities across the US.
NFIP Desk Reference for State Insurance CommissionersDeskReference

The guide  is organized into in three distinct parts:  Before the Flood, During the Flood and After the Flood.  Each provides valuable resources on what you need to know, what you need to share with policyholders and property owner s, and who to contact.  The 32-page publication can provide valuable information and resources to community officials and residents.
FEMA organized this guide to provide the user with the information needed when you need to know it most. FEMA publishes it electronically to ensure easy updates as the program evolves, and also included an interactive version.
2018 Federal Budget Provides More Funds for Mitigation and Floodplain MappingFederalBudget
On March 23, 2018, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, a bipartisan omnibus spending bill for the U.S. federal government for fiscal year 2018.  The budget would fund pre-disaster mitigation and flood mapping programs at levels above previous years

Three programs received increased funding.  For the Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) grant program, $249.2 million was budgeted, an increase of $149 million from previous years.  For the RiskMAP floodplain mapping program, $262.5 million was budgeted, an increase of $85 million from previous years.  For the Flood Management Assistance (FMA) grant program, $175 million was appropriated.

FHA 203(k) Finance Option for MitigationFHA

The Federal Housing Administration created the 203(k) Rehabilitation Program, which has been around since the 1970s.  It was originally designed to encourage families in low- to moderate-income brackets to purchase homes that are in dire need of repairs, especially homes in older communities.  However, it can also be used to finance flood mitigation projects even without a presidential disaster declaration.  These loans can be used by:

  • Homeowners who want to protect their homes from floods by elevating, or
  • People wanting to purchase a flood-prone home, but rehabilitate it to make it more resilient to future floods. 

The Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) developed a fact sheet on this little known program so flood risk professionals could spread the word.

New Watermark NFIP Quarterly Financial Report and April Rate ChangesWatermark
On March 27, 2018, FEMA announced the first publication of  The Watermark , a quarterly report that provides transparency to the financial state of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).  The goal of this report is to give interested stakeholders one central location to obtain answers to reoccurring questions pertaining to the NFIP.  

On April 1, 2018, new NFIP premium rate changes went into effect.  Overall, flood insurance premiums will increase an average of 8%, in compliance with the requirements of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014.
Training OpportunitiesTrainings

NFIP-related training webinars are available through STARR, a FEMA contractor.  Below is a list of upcoming webinars.  To register, go to the NFIP training website  and  click "Training Center" on the top bar, and then on the "Upcoming" tab.  When asked during registration what FEMA Region you are in, please reply "1".
  • April 17, 2018, 1:00pm - CRS:  Preparing an Annual Recertification
  • April 18, 2018, 1:00pm - CRS:  Preparing an Impact Adjustment Map
  • April 26, 2018, 1:00pm - Tools for Determining Base Flood Elevations
  • May 10, 2018, 1:00pm - NFIP Basics
  • May 15, 2018, 1:00pm - Introduction to the CRS
  • May 16, 2018, 1:00pm - CRS and Coastal Hazards
  • May 24, 2018, 12:00pm - Floodplain Development Permit Review
  • May 24, 2018, 1:30pm - Inspecting Floodplain Development
  • June 7, 2018, 1:00pm - How to Review a "No-Rise" Certificate
  • June 14, 2018, 1:00pm - Elevation Certificates



H2O Partners offers short training videos on the following topics:
  • Demonstrating the Elevation Certificate
  • How the NFIP Works for the Floodplain Professional
  • Effects of Flood Map Changes
  • Role of the Elevation Certificate in Floodplain Management

COMMUNITY RATING SYSTEM (CRS) L-278 COURSE - June 4-7, 2018, New London, CT

The Connecticut Association of Flood Managers (CAFM) and the CTDEEP are hosting the L-278 NFIP Community Rating System (CRS) course on June 4-7, 2018 at Fort Trumbull State Park, New London, Connecticut.  This four day course is the same class held at the FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI) in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  Cost is $45 for daily morning coffee and break food.  For more information or to register for the course, please visit the the CAFM website .

April 30-May 2, 2018:  Local Solutions:  Eastern Climate Preparedness Conference, Manchester, NH, www.communityresilience-center.org.

June 17-21, 2018:  Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) Annual Conference , Phoenix, AZ, www.floods.org .
November 7-9, 2018:  FLASH 2018 Natural Disaster Resilience Conference, Clearwater, FL, http://flash.org/naturaldisasterresilienceconference/


The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is located at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) National Emergency Training Center (NETC) in Emmitsburg, Maryland.  EMI serves as the national center for emergency management training of federal, state and local government officials.  Tuition, housing, and all books and materials are provided at no cost.  Participants are responsible for the cost of a meal pass (approximately $100/week).  Below is a select list of floodplain management classes offered into September 2018.  The classes in 2018 are shown in parentheses and italics. A full list of training classes can be found at the EMI website.  

E170  HAZUS-MH for Hurricane - May 7-10, 2018
E172  HAZUS-MH for Flood
- April 23-26, 2018E179  Application of HAZUS-MH for Disaster Operations - September 17-20, 2018
E194  Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts - July 9-12, 2018
E210  Recovery from Disaster: The Local Government Role -  April 23-26, August 27-30, 2018
E212  Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program: Developing Quality Application Elements - April 30-May 3, 2018
E213  Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program:  Application Review and Evaluation -
June 25-26, 2018
E214  Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance Program:  Project Implementation and Programmatic Closeout - June 27-28, 2018
E273  Managing Floodplain Development through the NFIP - May 7-10, August 27-30, 2018
E276  Benefit-Cost Analysis:  Entry Level  - September 12-13, 2018
E278  Community Rating System (CRS) - June 25-28, 2018
E279  Retrofitting Floodprone Residential Buildings - May 14-17, 2018
E282  Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts I - July 9 -12, 2018
E283  Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts II - July 30-August 2, 2018
E284  Advanced Floodplain Management Concepts III - July 23-26, 2018
E296  Application of HAZUS-MH for Risk Assessment - June 18-21, 2018
E312  Fundamentals of Building Science -    September 24-27, 2018
E313  Basic HAZUS-MH - July 16-19, 2018 
E317  Comprehensive Data Management for HAZUS-MH - August 13-16, 2018
E386  Residential Coastal Construction -  August 13-16, 2018
E582  Mitigation for Tribal Governments - July 16-19, September 17-20, 2018

EMI also offers free Independent Study courses on various aspects of the NFIP aimed at  community officials, surveyors, insurance agents, and claims adjusters.  These web-based courses are free and can be taken at your own pace. Below is a sample of courses available.  Independent study courses are also available for other topics in emergency management, hazard mitigation planning, disaster response and dam safety.    

IS-10.a     Animals in Disasters:  Awareness & Preparedness
IS-11.a     Animals in Disasters:  Community Planning
IS-30a      Mitigation eGrants for the Subgrant Applicant
IS-42       Social Media in Emergency Management
IS-111.a   Livestock in Disasters
IS-212.b   Introduction to Unified Hazard Mitigation Assistance (HMA)
IS-276      Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA) Fundamentals
IS-277      Benefit-Cost Analysis (BCA):  Entry Level
IS-279.a   Introduction to Retrofitting Flood-prone Residential Structures
IS-284      Using the Substantial Damage Estimator 2.0 Tool
IS-366.a   Planning for the Needs of Children in Disasters
IS-386      Introduction to Residential Coastal Construction
IS-393.a   Introduction to Hazard Mitigation
IS-394.a   Protecting Your Home or Small Business From Disaster
IS-552      The Public Works Role in Emergency Management 
IS-554      Emergency Planning for Public Works
IS-556      Damage Assessment for Public Works
IS-558      Public Works and Disaster Recovery
IS-559      Local Damage Assessment
IS-634      Introduction to FEMA's Public Assistance Program
IS-1100.a  Increased Cost of Compliance
IS-1101     Basic Agent Tutorial
IS-1102     Theory of Elevation Rating
IS-1103     Elevation Certificate for Surveyors
IS-1104     NFIP Claims Review for Adjusters
IS-1105     EC Made Easy:  Elevation Certificate Overview
IS-1106     FEMA Mapping Changes
IS-1107     Adjuster Customer Service
IS-1108     Insuring Condominiums
IS-1109     Understanding Basement Coverage
IS-1110.a  Writing Commercial Exposures
IS-1111     Introduction to Commercial Claims
IS-1112     Introduction to Flood Claims
IS-1113     Coastal Barrier Resources Act
IS-2001     Threat and Hazard Identification Risk Assessment (THIRA)
Visit the DEEP website at www.ct.gov/deep.  Published by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, Bureau of Water Protection and Land Reuse, Land and Water Resources Division.  Editor:  Diane Ifkovic, State National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Coordinator, email:  diane.ifkovic@ct.gov.
CT Department of Energy & Environmental Protection
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