Flood Insurance

Aon Provides Flood Guidance

Aon produced an agents’ guide covering newly-effective changes to the National Flood Insurance Program
By: | November 1, 2017 • 4 min read

As people in Florida, Puerto Rico and other areas struggle to recover from devastating hurricanes and storms, new regulations from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regarding flood water coverage took effect October 1. Knowing, interpreting and communicating those changes is essential for insurance agents as they write policies that could prove to be lifelines for customers.

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With that in mind, Aon National Flood Services compiled an eBook to help agents better understand the changes to FEMA policy, agents’ responsibilities and how the changes will affect consumers.

“Our goal is to make a difference in people’s lives by helping them protect what is important,” said Cynthia DiVincenti, Vice President at Aon National Flood Services.

“Providing eBooks on various topics, including the NFIP changes, allows us to help educate insurance professionals so that they can best serve their clients. This booklet is geared toward insurance agents, so they have the tools they need to work with their clients.”

FEMA’s Insurance Role

A federal agency, FEMA’s mission is to support citizens and first responders in their efforts to build, sustain, protect and prepare for catastrophic events, such as floods, and provide support when those events do occur. The agency develops extensive maps of floodplains and assigns levels of risk to properties based on their proximity to floodplains. The risk level is a determining factor in insurance rates.

Cynthia DiVincenti, Vice President, Aon National Flood Services

According to FEMA’s website, NFIP works to “reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures by providing affordable insurance to property owners and by encouraging communities to adopt and enforce floodplain management regulations.”

These efforts help mitigate the effects of flooding. Overall, the program reduces the impact of disasters by promoting the purchase and retention of general risk insurance and specifically flood insurance.

Importantly, FEMA sells insurance for property owners and renters through its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). This service is crucial for those whose standard policies do not include specific flood insurance.

Write Your Own Program

FEMA participates also in the Write Your Own (WYO) Program, a collaboration between the private insurance industry and FEMA which allows property and insurance companies to write and service the Standard Flood Insurance Policy. Insurers receive an expense allowance for policies written and claims processed but the federal government underwrites losses.

Homeowners, business owners and renters at properties located in an NFIP-participating community, can purchase policies. Agents should be prepared to determine if a customer’s property is within a NFIP- participating community and can use the Community Status Book or Community Flood Map as a reference.

Still, many property owners, and some renters who also qualify for NFIP, don’t have flood insurance. For example, FEMA notes that more than 800,000 property owners in at-risk locations in Florida alone are without flood insurance, making booklets such as Aon’s product a beneficial tool for industry professionals working with clients to better protect their homes and other possessions.

The Changes

Regulations and changes sometimes can be cumbersome to interpret. Aon tries to educate its agents with its timely and easy-to-read publications.

One change that agents will enjoy conveying to their customers is reduction in the cost of the federal policy fee for renters’ insurance to $25. This is a 50 percent reduction, making it now more affordable.

“Staying in the information loop is an ongoing and vital task for all agents.” – Cynthia DiVincenti, Vice President, Aon National Flood Services

This change applies to renters that renew or purchase flood insurance on or after October 1, 2017. Insurers will receive by mail and must update the “Tenant Indicator” on contents-only policies within 15 days of receipt. If the letter is not returned on time, the fee defaults to the previous $50 fee.

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“In order to validate those policyholders eligible for the reduced fee, agents with contents-only policies are required to provide information to indicate if the policyholder was a tenant,” said DiVincenti.

Another change: surcharges will be pro-rated instead of fully earned on policies that are cancelled for specific reasons such as building sale, content removal, the insurer no longer requires it or in the event of a mortgage payoff.

“Staying in the information loop is an ongoing and vital task for all agents. FEMA publicizes changes to regulations six months prior to the effective date and much of the information is available on their website.

“As a trusted advisor, insurance agents need to be current on the various types of insurance products they sell and service. The information within the eBook provides agents with the latest changes to the NFIP,” said DiVincenti.

For more information visit www.FloodSmart.gov.

To read the Aon eBook go to http://october2017.nfipchanges.com/. &

Mercedes Ott is managing editor of Risk & Insurance. She can be reached at [email protected]

More from Risk & Insurance

More from Risk & Insurance

Risk Management

The Profession

Pinnacle Entertainment’s VP of enterprise risk management says he’s inspired by Disney’s approach to risk management.
By: | November 1, 2017 • 4 min read

R&I: What was your first job?

Bus boy at a fine dining restaurant.

R&I: How did you come to work in this industry?

I sent a résumé to Harrah’s Entertainment on a whim. It took over 30 hours of interviewing to get that job, but it was well worth it.

R&I: If the world has a modern hero, who is it and why?

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The Chinese citizen (never positively identified) who stood in front of a column of tanks in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. That kind of courage is undeniable, and that image is unforgettable. I hope we can all be that passionate about something at least once in our lives.

R&I: What emerging commercial risk most concerns you?

Cyber risk, but more narrowly, cyber-extortion. I think state sponsored bad actors are getting more and more sophisticated, and the risk is that they find a way to control entire systems.

R&I: What is the riskiest activity you ever engaged in?

Training and breaking horses. When I was in high school, I worked on a lot of farms. I did everything from building fences to putting up hay. It was during this time that I found I had a knack for horses. They would tolerate me getting real close, so it was natural I started working more and more with them.

Eventually, I was putting a saddle on a few and before I knew it I was in that saddle riding a horse that had never been ridden before.

I admit I had some nervous moments, but I was never thrown off. It taught me that developing genuine trust early is very important and is needed by all involved. Nothing of any real value happens without it.

R&I: What about this work do you find the most fulfilling or rewarding?

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Setting very aggressive goals and then meeting and exceeding those goals with a team. Sharing team victories is the ultimate reward.

R&I: What is the most unusual/interesting place you have ever visited?

Disney World. The sheer size of the place is awe inspiring. And everything works like a finely tuned clock.

There is a reason that hospitality companies send their people there to be trained on guest service. Disney World does it better than anyone else.

As a hospitality executive, I always learn something new whenever I am there.

James Cunningham, vice president, enterprise risk management, Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc.

The risks that Disney World faces are very similar to mine — on a much larger scale. They are complex and across the board. From liability for the millions of people they host as their guests each year, to the physical location of the park, to their vendor partnerships; their approach to risk management has been and continues to be innovative and a model that I learn from and I think there are lessons there for everybody.

R&I: What is the risk management community doing right?

We are doing a much better job of getting involved in a meaningful way in our daily operations and demonstrating genuine value to our organizations.

R&I: What could the risk management community be doing a better job of?

Educating and promoting the career with young people.

R&I: What have you accomplished that you are proudest of?

Being able to tell the Pinnacle story. It’s a great one and it wasn’t being told. I believe that the insurance markets now understand who we are and what we stand for.

R&I: Who is your mentor and why?

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John Matthews, who is now retired, formerly with Aon and Caesar’s Palace. John is an exceptional leader who demonstrated the value of putting a top-shelf team together and then letting them do their best work. I model my management style after him.

R&I: What is your favorite book or movie?

I read mostly biographies and autobiographies. I like to read how successful people became successful by overcoming their own obstacles. Jay Leno, Jack Welch, Bill Harrah, etc. I also enjoyed the book and movie “Money Ball.”

R&I: What is your favorite drink?

Ice water when it’s hot, coffee when it’s cold, and an adult beverage when it’s called for.

R&I: What does your family think you do?

In my family, I’m the “Safety Geek.”

R&I:  What’s your favorite restaurant?

Vegas is a world-class restaurant town. No matter what you are hungry for, you can find it here. I have a few favorites that are my “go-to’s,” depending on the mood and who I am with.

If you’re in town, you should try to have at least one meal off the strip. For that, I would suggest you get reservations (you’ll need them) at Herbs and Rye. It’s a great little restaurant that is always lively. The food is tremendous, and the service is always on point. They make hand-crafted cocktails that are amazing.

My favorite Mexican restaurant is Lindo Michoacan. There are three in town, and I prefer the one in Henderson as it has the best view of the valley. For seafood, you can never go wrong with Joe’s in Caesar’s Palace.




Katie Dwyer is an associate editor at Risk & Insurance®. She can be reached at [email protected]