Flood Adjuster: Am I Certified or Authorized?

NFIPFloodBootCamp
Major Reasons For Becoming A Flood Adjuster – NFIP Flood Boot Camp
February 27, 2020
Am-I-Certified-or-Authorized-by-FEMA?

Am-I-Certified-or-Authorized-by-FEMA?

There is a huge misunderstanding in the flood adjusting industry regarding how the flood adjuster communicates to the policyholder about the adjuster’s classification as a flood adjuster. It all starts before the adjuster receives their Flood Control Number, commonly known as the FCN Card.

In my work, most days start off with the phone ringing in the office, and the caller has the following question: “How do I get my flood adjuster certification?” In the past, I have gone into a long dissertation about the question. Common sense might lead you to believe that FEMA/NFIP certifies the flood adjuster. But they do not!

As recently as this year, I have attended two NFIP Adjuster Claims Presentation Workshops where the words “certified” or “certification” were used by the moderators. The New Flood Adjuster Capacity Program (FACP) Manual, July 2019 has no reference to the word “certified or certification.” However, it does reference these words: “authorized” (13 times), “authorization” (7), “authority” (3).

Within the FACP Manual these words relate directly or indirectly to the flood adjuster. Thirteen times the word “authorized” is used, and it has the word “adjuster” before or after. Clearly the intent is to communicate something to or about the adjuster. Seven times the word “authorization” is used in different applications, including mailing address, EAD Employment Authorization Document, who can have an FCN CARD, and FCN card with and without dates. Lastly, the three times the word “authority” is used confers direct power to FEMA related to the FCN card; in essence, the flood adjuster who has a card only has it because FEMA allowed them to have it!

Within the FCN card, each adjuster is authorized by FEMA to process one or more types of flood losses. Generally, authorization is separated into these three catagories:

1) Residential Dwelling, Manufactured Homes (Mobile)/Travel Trailers and Small Commercial.

2) Large Commercial.

3) Residential Condominium Association Building Policy (RCBAP).

Currently there is a trend to make Manufactured Homes (Mobile)/Travel Trailers a separate category because of its difficulty in adjusting. The FACP Program has clearly defined its requirements related to the “trainer and trainee.” While I will not dive deep into the requirements, the manual has brought clarity to who can be a flood adjuster. There is a misconception that one cannot get into the program without experience. This is far from the truth. It is now very clear with the expectations set forth by FEMA how to train new people wanting to get into the business. There is a big gap in the industry at this level.

FEMA has been dropping the hammer on companies who say they have a training program but really do not. Companies are buying up training companies so they can get to the front of the line. Companies are being called on the carpet. Companies are losing accounts for various reasons. I have attended most of these companies’ flood training courses. Not to steal their ideas, but as a part of their requirements to work flood losses for them. That is when it changed and the light went on in my head.

From Superstorm Sandy to sometime in 2015/2016, all I saw was confusion in the flood adjusting process. Sandy gave birth to the Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, and it was greatly based around untrained flood adjusters. During 2015/2016, I started reviewing flood files (not a part of the taskforce) of my own and my colleagues. They would share them with me while I was studying them, and I found a consistent theme running through them. I analyzed the data and found out how to improve the system. From there, I authored my “Steps to Working an NFIP Flood Loss.”™ I used this system during the second half of 2016 and shared it wth a few close colleagues over the next two years. This is when I developed my training curriculum that is used in the Five-Day NFIP Flood Boot Camp™.

During Hurricane Harvey, my “Steps to Working an NFIP Flood Loss”™ took its first big test. The whole system worked like an operating computer without any viruses. Every claim I processed went through without any errors reported as of this writing. No lawsuits were filed. And while I had a few policyholders inquire about RAPs, I explained to them the item in question was not a covered item. Not only did it pass the test for me, but another adjuster had success. The only time they had issues is when they strayed from the Steps program.

One may be thinking, “What does this have to do with soneone being granted the title ‘certified’ or ‘authorized’ adjuster by NFIP?” Anyone who works a FEMA/NFIP flood loss is only “authorized.” So who gives the “certification”?

While my colleagues and I have worked flood claims for the majority of the Write Your Own Flood Insurance Companies (WYO), they did not “certify” me or any of my colleagues. The likes of Allstate Insurance Company, Wright National Flood Insurance Company, USAA General Indemnity Company, Selective Insurance Company of America, Farmers Insurance Group, Banker Insurance Group, and many more have not come out with any form of flood adjuster certification program. But I have approached them with the Steps program, the product they have already accepted as a completed claims package, and they have paid the policyholders.

The independent adjusting firms for which my colleagues and I have worked have not provided any type of certification. I will say that we did receive certificates just like the hundreds of other adjusters who have attended training courses. But a certificate does not “certify” me or anyone as a flood adjuster. Just because you sit through an eight-hour training course definitely does not “qualify” you as a flood adjuster.

When I Google, “Who should I get my flood adjuster certification from,” guess who is at the top? FEMA! The bottom line is this: FEMA attached the word “certification” in their SEO and SMO because that is what most people type when trying to find out how to obtain their FCN card. The FEMA application to apply for the FCN actually reads, “ADJUSTER REGISTRATION APPLICATION.”

So where do you obtain a certification as a flood adjuster? Bullseye Training and NFIP Flood Boot Camp™ is where you can receive a designation as a “certified flood adjuster.” This designation has three steps. Details of the Steps program are outlined on our website at nfipfloodbootcamp.com. You can also find other flood adjuster tools that will help you become a professional flood adjuster.

Now that you know that FEMA and WYOs do not provide any type of certification of flood adjusters, there is still the question, “What will certification do for me as a flood adjuster?” As the industry continues to evolve with new best practices, artificial intelligence (AI), augmented reality (RA), ways to reduce the cycle time of the claim, and continued push to keep the claims experience high, obtaining a certification can help. Think of it as the Hagg Certification of wind and hail.

If you want to start a new career as a flood adjuster, or you’re an existing adjuster who wants to become a flood adjuster, you need to know that FEMA expects you to have “specialized knowledge” about the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Becoming a Certified Flood Adjuster through the Bullseye Training at NFIPfloodbootcamp.com comes with a Money Back Guarantee!

As a flood adjuster, you are only “AUTHORIZED!”

By Robert Ballard ANFI, CFGA, CGA, CPLA