Federal Register: September 1, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 169)
DOCID: FR Doc 05-17444
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY
Federal Emergency Management Agency
RIN ID: RIN 1660-ZA06
ACTION: Reports and guidance documents; availability, etc.:
DOCUMENT ACTION: Notice.
Flood Insurance Training and Education Requirements for Insurance Agents
FEMA is publishing minimum training and education requirements, as required by section 207 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004, for all insurance agents who sell Standard Flood Insurance Policies issued through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Flood insurance training and education requirements for insurance agents,
On June 30, 2004 the President signed the BunningBereuterBlumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004 (Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004), Pub. L. 108264. Section 207 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004 states:
The Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency shall,
in cooperation with the insurance industry, State insurance regulators, and other interested parties
(1) Establish minimum training and education requirements for all insurance agents who sell flood insurance policies, and (2) Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, publish these requirements in the Federal Register, and inform insurance companies and agents of the requirements.
This notice describes FEMA's implementation of section 207 of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004. As required by the Act, FEMA has coordinated with the State insurance regulators, the insurance industry, and other interested parties. Input received from these organizations emphasizes the value of working through the State insurance departments to avoid establishing conflicting or burdensome training requirements upon insurance agents. While implementing the minimum training requirements required by section 207, FEMA has been mindful of the Senate Report language, (S. REP. NO. 108262, at 4 & 9 (2004)), which cautions:
In some cases, states may already have requirements to ensure that agents are wellversed in the flood insurance program. Where possible, FEMA should work to make sure that agents are not burdened with inconsistent state and federal training and education requirements. In addition, where possible, FEMA should work to implement the training requirements through the states, which already have continuing education processes in place.
Under 15 U.S.C. 1011 et seq., commonly referred to as the
``McCarranFerguson Act'', section 6701, States have the authority to
establish qualification standards by which insurance agents are
licensed to do business and to determine the continuing education
requirements for maintaining such licenses in the particular
jurisdiction. However, the McCarranFerguson Act specifically excludes
from State regulation an insurance program carried out by the Federal
Government, including the NFIP, and FEMA lawfully may establish
specific standards to sell flood insurance under the NFIP. Rather than
establish separate, and, perhaps duplicative requirements, FEMA has
chosen to work with States to ensure that NFIP requirements are
implemented through established (existing) licensing schemes. For
example, several States already include questions about flood insurance
on their agent licensing examinations, and some also award continuing
education credits for agents who complete flood insurance training. It
is our intent to encourage States to implement minimum training in NFIP
flood insurance as part of their general licensing standards and to assist
States in improving their training and testing of agents on flood insurance matters as appropriate.
FEMA is committed to actively supporting the States in implementing their flood insurance training programs for insurance agents and will, in support of that commitment, provide: expertise regarding the content of a flood insurance training program that would enable insurance agents to have a basic understanding of the NFIP; access to NFIP training modules, including online modules; and, NFIP materials and other technical assistance as may be needed to address unique requirements. Further, as FEMA establishes policy or procedural changes or enhancements that should be reflected in Stateapproved flood insurance training programs, these will be provided by FEMA to the State insurance departments.
FEMA will work with State insurance departments that do not already
have established flood insurance training programs for insurance agents
to implement the guidance provided by the National Conference of
Insurance Legislators (NCOIL). The ``State Flood Disaster Mitigation
and Relief Model Act'' adopted by the NCOIL Executive Committee on
November 21, 2003, includes the following text that States will find useful when adopting their flood insurance requirements:
Part IV. Miscellaneous Provisions Regarding Participation
Sec. 1. Insurance Producer Qualification; Continuing Education
The [State entity for regulating insurance] shall require:
1. Prelicensing requirement. The [State entity for regulating insurance] shall require all resident insurance producer applicants to demonstrate satisfactory knowledge and understanding of flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program, as determined by the [State entity for regulating insurance] in order to qualify for licensure.
2. Onetime continuing education requirement for existing licensees. The [State entity for regulating insurance] shall require resident insurance producers licensed on [the bill's effective date] to complete a continuing education course related to flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program before [a date certain at least two years from the bill's effective date]. The course shall be three hours in length and shall be approved by the [State entity for regulating insurance]. Completion of the course will provide the licensee with three hours of continuing education credit.
Incentives for Trained Agents
FEMA offers various incentives to encourage insurance agents to pursue flood insurance training. The NFIP's Agent Coop Program provides agents, Write Your Own (WYO) companies, and insurance associations with the advertising tools they need to produce local and regional advertising that supports the national NFIP campaign. Insurance agents who participate in the program are reimbursed a portion of their advertising budget when they use the program's pre approved ad templates. An additional 25 percent in coop funds are offered to agents who complete a Stateapproved continuing education course on flood insurance within the past 12 months. Details are provided at http://www.FloodSmart.gov.
Additionally, agents who sign up for the NFIP's Agent Leads Referral program receive free leads generated through the NFIP marketing efforts. Plans are being developed to enable agents who have completed flood insurance training to be given a special designation or priority in the distribution of leads.
Flood Insurance Course Content
The following material outlines the standard content that States
should include when establishing or updating their flood insurance
training requirements. This outline reflects input gathered by FEMA
from the following: State insurance regulators; insurance companies
that sell flood insurance under the NFIP's WYO Program; the Independent
Insurance Agents and Brokers of America; the National Association of
Professional Insurance Agents; and the Coalition of Exclusive Agent
Associations. This training course content, if effectively delivered,
would enable insurance agents to gain a basic understanding of the
NFIP, so that they could share this information with their customers.
Additional training should be taken by insurance agents on a regular
basis to gain understanding of more advanced flood insurance topics. Basic Flood Insurance Course Outline
[cir] Mandatory Purchase of Flood Insurance in High Flood Risk Zones
[cir] Recommended in Moderate and Low Flood Risk Zones
[cir] PreFIRM/PostFIRM Defined
[cir] Special Flood Hazard Area Defined
Section IIIPolicies and Products Available
[cir] Elevated Buildings
[cir] Single Peril Policy
[cir] Mudslides vs. Mudflow
[cir] Appurtenant Structure
[cir] Loss Avoidance Measures
[cir] Debris Removal
[cir] Improvements and Betterments
[cir] Finished Items in Basements
[cir] In Enclosures
[cir] Additional Living Expenses
Section IVGeneral Rules
[cir] Standard Deductibles
[cir] Applies Separately for Building and Contents
[cir] Actual Cash Value (ACV)
[cir] Replacement Cost Value (RCV)
[cir] Coinsurance Penalty in RCBAP
[cir] Elevated Buildings
[cir] Buildings with Basements
Section VIClaims Handling Process
Section VIIRequirements of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004
[cir] Notification of Coverages Being Purchased
[cir] Policy Exclusions that Apply
[cir] Explanation Regarding How Losses Will be Adjusted (ACV vs. RCV)
[cir] Number and Dollar Amount of Claims for Property
[cir] Acknowledgement Forms
Section VIIIAgent Resources
[cir] http://www.floodsmart.gov [cir] http://training.nfipstat.com
Dated: August 25, 2005.
Michael D. Brown,
Under Secretary, Emergency Preparedness and Response, Department of Homeland Security.
[FR Doc. 0517444 Filed 83105; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 911011P
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT
Mr. Edward L. Connor, Federal Emergency Management Agency, Mitigation Division, 500 C Street, SW., Washington, DC 20472, (202) 6463429 (phone), (202) 6462849 (facsimile), or Edward.Connor@dhs.gov (email).