States will soon require minimum training, education and knowledge requirements for insurance agents who write flood insurance, Ed Pasterick, an industry relations spokesman for the Federal Emergency Management Agency told the National Conference of Insurance Regulators Property-Casualty Insurance Committee on Friday morning in Hilton Head, S.C.
Pasterick said the 2004 Flood Insurance Reform Act directed the FEMA to develop a training program for agents writing flood insurance.
“This legislation didn’t really mandate anything we weren’t already doing,” he explained. Pasterick said FEMA already had a training program in place which only required slight modifications. Those changes are now being reviewed by FEMA and will also have to be cleared by the Homeland Security Department.
“The next step, after the regulation is cleared will be to work with the states to incorporate the requirements into their standards,” Pasterick explained. “When that happens states have leverage to require agents to equip themselves to better understand flood insurance.”
Pasterick said some states questioned the costs involved in implementing the requirement, but he doesn’t think it is a real problem.
“FEMA’s flood insurance program has a comprehensive training program already in place, we do training through our bureau, in cooperation with companies and have an extensive online training program,” Pasterick explained. “The best avenue for states is to use these tools to train their agents.”
He said NCOIL, FEMA and the National Conference of State Legislators will meet with National Association of Insurance Commissioners representatives later this month in Salt Lake City to discuss how to best way to assist the states in implementing the requirements.
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