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Commerce Commissioner reminds insurance agents to help Minnesotans prepare for the spring flood season

March 21, 2013

For Immediate Release:

SAINT PAUL, MN – As the snow and ice melt and we watch for the signal of a possible spring flood season, Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman reminds all insurance professionals to emphasize the importance of preparation with their clients in order to protect themselves. Agents are strongly urged to reach out to their clients and the general public to inform them of the steps that can and should be taken now to address potential loss in the event of spring flooding.

As the state’s insurance regulator, Commissioner Rothman also reminds the insurance community that legislation was passed in 2008 (Minn. Stat. § 65A.302) requiring insurers to provide annual notice to its customers that flood damage is not typically covered under a homeowners/renters policy. Insurance agents are expected to be involved in this notice-delivery process, especially when quoting new business and during normal policy reviews. The statute also requires insurers to notify consumers about the availability of flood coverage, especially if that insurer is a member of the federal government’s “Write Your Own” program.

As part of National Flood Preparation Week, the Department is reminding agents of their responsibility under federal law to undergo three hours of approved training before selling flood insurance policies. This is currently a one-time requirement under the federal law. The department has taken steps to ensure that classes meeting those requirements have been approved and made available here in Minnesota.

In addition, the department strongly encourages all insurance professionals to familiarize themselves of the wealth of information and materials on the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) website. 

The Minnesota Department of Commerce also has developed a one-stop shop Disaster Information Center that helps Minnesota homeowners and businesses address property damages caused by storms or flooding. One of the most useful tools for consumers is the home inventory checklist available on the website to assist consumers in the inventory of their belongings. Homeowners who complete this checklist will find themselves far better prepared to assess their losses in the wake of a disaster.

Lastly, consumers should know that now is the time to make a decision about flood insurance. Flood insurance policies are not active until after a 30-day waiting period. Depending on how quickly this winter’s record snowfall melts, consumers who wait to act could be caught without coverage if flooding occurs before they purchase flood insurance.