On March 25, 2009, Washington Governor Chris Gregoire signed into law Senate Bill 5417, An Act Relating to Flood Insurance Coverage (the “Act”). The Act applies to insurers issuing homeowner, condominium unit owner, residential tenant and residential fire insurance policies that do not cover damage caused by flood. Insurers must provide notice to policyholders at the time the policy is issued and renewed that the policy does not cover flood damage.
The Act requires notices to contain advice on how policyholders can contact the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”). The NFIP is an organization created by Congress in 1968 that offers flood insurance to homeowners, renters, and business owners if their community participates in the NFIP. Participating communities are those that agree to adopt and enforce ordinances meeting or exceeding FEMA requirements to reduce the risk of flooding.
The notice must also contain the following language:
This policy does not cover damage to your property caused by flooding. The federal government offers flood insurance through National Flood Insurance Program to residents of communities that participate in its program. You can learn more about the National Flood Insurance Program at www.floodsmart.gov or by calling (888) 379-9531.