National Flood Conference 2018: Why Flood Adjusters Need Training!

why hurricane florence was a bust sept 2018
Why Hurricane Florence was a BUST for Flood Adjusters – September 2018
October 2, 2018


The 50th Annual National Flood Conference in Washington DC on June 9-13, 2018 was an exciting four days.

It was my privilege to network with leaders from FEMA, WYOs, TPA, IA Firms, agents, my fellow adjuster brothers and sisters and then my trip to “The Hill”.

Prevalence & causes of floods

Flooding continues to be the nations most common natural disaster. It is often thought that heavy rainfall and hurricane is the only cause of flooding.

But there are other causes:

  • Urbanizations – As the population continues to leave the rural lifestyle and move to the large metropolitan areas and specifically the coastal areas of the country, evidence is showing that more hard surfaces are being developed resulting is limited soil penetration of rainfall.This if forcing streams, rivers, and storms drains to be overwhelmed causing damage to infrastructure, buildings, personal property and vehicles.
  • Wildfires – Wildfires are not isolated to the western states, they are happening everywhere in the world.But here in the US we have seen the fires devastate thousands of acres resulting in the reduction of foliage and ground cover which is the epidermis of the soil.The death of foliage and ground cover root system exposes the dermis or root system and leaves it open to other natural causes of damage.
  • Winter Storms – We often think of winter storms located in the colder climates, however, that is not true. In the mid-west where I live (Kansas), a winter storm could have various types of perils causing damages.From a warm front that blows in and produces heavy thunderstorms resulting in tornados, hail and flooding, to the white-outs across the upper mid-west dumping snow that is so deep farmers lose cattle on the ranges.When it is water runoff because there are no crops in the field or the melting snow in the highland or plains, it must go somewhere.
  • Snowmelt Runoff – While snowmelt generally comes from the high country as the earth turns on its axis giving way to spring it is compounded by the clashing of warm and cold fronts.As the spring storms pound the high country and plains covered with snow the tributaries and rivers began to rise. The rising water is the result of runoff and something is going to happen.
  • Mudflows – To have mudflows the soil must become liquified. This happens by a plethora of environmental results. The most important cause is the loss of it epidermis or foliage and ground cover.Mountains lay naked to the rainfall and lose their stability resulting in the milkshake flow of mud. Losing it’s gravitational pull to the core of the earth it begins its journey of Newton’s Law and starts heading to a lower point of equations or the bottom of the mountain.The same happens in the streams and rivers only with greater force.I returned to a creek in Indiana last week where I learned to swim. It was called the “swimming hole” and everyone in the family knew exactly where is was located. I remember it was about twenty feet wide and eight feet deep running along the right side of the gravel road in the country.Today, it was thirty feet wide and maybe five feet deep, however, if it was full to the brim it would be fifteen feet deep. Where did all the soil go? It was in the farmers field two miles downstream.

Events like this happen every day and people are asking why?

Part of it is called nature and we label it a disaster. The other part is called self-inflicted. Today, people have caused many disasters by starting fires, developing in areas and relocating hazard zones prone to flooding.

FEMA’s new “Moonshot” goal

FEMA presented their “Moonshot”! Is summary, the push is to increase NFIP policies from 5 million, which took fifty years to obtain, to 10 million by 2022. With this lofty goal comes complex issues that must be resolved.

The first issue is the Reauthorization of the Bill. Yesterday Congress took short term gap by extending the funding. This is a complex issue to which I will not address. However, I will address one concern related to cost.

There is a great disparity in how the risk is rated and price is established. Flood mapping completed by the community and funded by FEMA. It is called the FIRM Map (Federal Insurance Rate Map).

These maps are known for identifying SFHA (Special Flood Hazard Area). Within the SFHA’s one could have different zones with different rates that would apply.

Educating policyholders

What most policyholders do not understand is they could be 1000’s of feet to quarter of mile away from the stream, river or shoreline of an ocean looking at the neighbors back yard and be paying the same premium as the policyholder who is enjoying that ocean view or elevated on an island on the Mississippi river.

In a word, “the greater the risk, the greater the premium” but that is not exactly how it works! This is one way the “Moonshot” can be reached if Congressional Member take a look at the premium vs. risk and implement parity and fairness.

Write Your Own (WYO), Third Part Administrators (TPA) and Independent Adjusting (IA) Firms were dispersed throughout the conference. While there was very little one-on-one time, you could mingle during the breaks between the sessions.

As an adjuster, it was good to talk with them about my “Five-Day NFIP Flood Boot Camp™” and the new technology and innovations to flood adjusting. Many of the “techie” items are demonstrated and implemented in the Boot Camp.

The Industry is changing

As we continued to talk, the subject shifted to FEMA’s “Moonshot” goal by 2022. They recognized the need for professional equipped adjusters if the goal of 5 million new policies is going to be sold. At the same time, do not be fooled, they are looking for ways to reduce cost.

WYO’s, TPA’s and IA Firms are working hard to develop new ways to reduce their expenses.

While they are looking at the bottom line every day, the bean counters are recommending the action to be taken to increase their profits for the investors of Wall Street.

Last month at the Chanute, KS “Boot Camp”, a twenty-nine-year veteran staff adjuster, Randy was one of 3000 to lose his job to corporate downsizing. His career was cut short to another adjuster who took a “zone” position.

This is not a wave, but a tidal wave, as the race is on to cut expenses and it will continue as the pressure continues to build to be profitable for their investors.

Solution: Improve your skills

Those new ways are always being though at the Five-Day NFIP Flood Boot Camp™. While at the National Flood Conference, my tour through the exhibit hall took me by different companies who were promoting new ideas.

One company talked about turning more preliminary reports per day. Another company was showing the virtual reality training. Randy, wanted to re-tool his skillset, and completed his research of where the best place to go and receive flood adjusting training is.

The Five-Day NFIP Flood Boot Camp™ includes and exceeds those training techniques in the Steps to Works an NFIP Flood Loss™ and obtain 24 CE credits for Indiana and Texas.

See Randy and others testimonials

While there is a push by FEMA/NFIP to gain an additional 5 million policies in the next four years, I am committed to develop GREAT Flood Adjusters, not just good adjusters as one IA Firm stated.

To service those new policies, you cannot afford to miss a STEP. So, let’s congratulate FEMA/NFIP on their 50th Anniversary and together you and I can help make the next 50 years even better.