People who receive individual assistance from FEMA after a disaster such as Harvey are required to have flood insurance. But some people who cannot afford flood insurance become covered under a group flood insurance policy and may not even realize it.
Flooded During Harvey and Again in Imelda
In the last two weeks, I visited numerous people along the East Fork and Caney Creek in less fortunate neighborhoods. They flooded in Harvey and then again during Imelda. For these people, the devastation is especially crushing because they could not afford flood insurance…or so they told me.
Almost all of the people I interviewed have tried to rebuild homes out of pocket as money becomes available. Some do the work themselves to make money stretch further. They are also trying to replace vehicles lost in floods. For these folks, recovering from the second flood in two years is like climbing a financial Mt. Everest.
Group Vs. Individual Flood Insurance Policies
However, Dianne Innes Cooper, who used to work for FEMA, made me aware of their Group Flood Insurance Policies. Then Kaaren Cambio, Congressman Dan Crenshaw’s assistant, made some calls to FEMA to explore who is eligible.
In short, if you flooded during Harvey, received FEMA Individual Assistance (IA), and flooded again, you are most likely covered under a group flood insurance policy. You may be entitled to benefits even if you didn’t know about the policy.
Here is a FEMA Fact Sheet that discusses the ins and outs of Group Flood Insurance. There are several eligibility requirements, so check the sheet carefully.
Some key facts from the fact sheet:
- The 36-month Group Flood Insurance Policy (GFIP) begins 60 days after the Presidential Disaster Declaration.
- The flood insurance is transferrable to people who may buy the property, but not subsequent renters.
- Applicants do NOT receive a copy of the actual policy, just a certificate of coverage.
- Applicants do NOT have the ability to decline the GFIP.
- People who accept SBA loans are NOT eligible for a FEMA-purchased GFIP certificate.
- After the Group policy expires, you need to purchase individual insurance to continue coverage.
Most people who flooded during Harvey and again during Imelda would still be covered under a GFIP issued after Harvey.
For More Information and to Verify Coverage
If it sounds like you might be covered under a group policy, but aren’t sure, you can verify coverage. FEMA lists a hotline for disaster assistance: (800) 621-FEMA (3362).
Congressman Dan Crenshaw’s office can also make inquiries for you. However, before the Congressman can help, you must download and fill out a FEMA Privacy Release Form.
Kaaren Cambio from Congressman Crenshaw’s office will be at the FEMA meeting at the Kingwood Community Center tonight starting at 6:30. You can also call or email her at the Congressman’s office during normal business hours.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 10/15/2019, with thanks to Dianne Cooper and Kaaren Cambio
777 Days after Hurricane Harvey and 26 after Imelda.