FEMA Seeks Comments On Public Assistance Insurance Policy

FEMA is seeking comments from insurance companies and associations on a proposed policy which requires applicants of its Public Assistance program to obtain and maintain insurance coverage equal to the assistance FEMA provided. Comments must be submitted through the process outlined in the Federal Register notice and are due on December 8, 2014. In 2013, the Public Assistance program obligated more than $4.5 billion.

Under Federal law, applicants who receive assistance under the Public Assistance program are required to obtain and maintain insurance coverage for the peril which caused the damage for at least the amount of funding FEMA provided. The proposed policy, among other things, clarifies that this requirement extends to both flood and non-flood events and can be satisfied through a variety of options including commercial insurance, blanket polices, insurance pools, self-insurance or a combination of these options.

The Public Assistance Program provides grants to state, territorial, local, and federally recognized tribal governments and certain private non-profit entities to assist them with the response to and recovery from disasters. Specifically, the program provides assistance for debris removal, emergency protective measures, and permanent restoration of infrastructure such as roads and bridges, water control facilities, public buildings and contents, public utilities, and parks, recreational, and other facilities.

The Public Assistance Policy on Insurance was posted to the Federal Register this morning. The notice and related documents can be accessed here.