Flood Insurance Expert

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Issues.  Issues that arise as to flood insurance and issues as to which I have testified as a flood insurance expert include, among others, those set out below.  About 50% of my expert testimony is on behalf of policyholders and about 50% is on behalf of insurance companies.

  • Agent issues: Whether flood insurance was offered by the homeowners/renters/condo/commercial insurance agent in the first instance;
  • Limits: Whether the agent communicated available flood insurance limits including contents;
  • Claims: Insurance Company Issues. Whether the insurer settled the flood claim consistent with the insurer’s obligations and responsibilities;
  • Claims: Wind versus water.  Wind damage is not covered by most flood policies.  Thus, in circumstances where high winds accompany flooding, the issue is whether the subject damage was wind driven (and therefore generally excluded from the flood policy coverage) or water damage (and therefore generally included under a flood policy).
  • Claims: Most homeowner’s policies and renters/condo/commercial policies exclude flood coverage;
  • Policyholder Issues. Whether the policyholder read its binder/policy as to flood insurance matters.

 Expertise: a Brief Summary.  In connection with flood insurance expert opinions, I draw upon my expertise:

Harvey Flood Insurance ExpertThe National Flood Insurance ProgramThe National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) is a federal program, managed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA), and has three components: flood insurance, floodplain management and the development of maps of flood zones.  Flood insurance can only be purchased through an insurance agent.  It cannot be purchased directly from the NFIP.  The maximum limits for most flood insurance policies is $250,000 for residential buildings and up to $500,000 for commercial buildings.  Coverage is also provided in addition for contents.

This matter calls for expertise as to custom and practice in the industry as to: (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances.  Set out below is specific expertise as to these matters.

FLOOD EXPERTISE FOR BILL HAGER  

 Applicable Flood Insurance and Agent Expertise: State Insurance Regulation.  My expertise as to these matters can be found as follows: I am a former:

  • Commissioner of Insurance (Iowa);
  • First Deputy Commissioner of Insurance;
  • Assistant Attorney General assigned on a full-time basis to the Department of Insurance (Iowa)[1].
  • Administrative Law Judge, f/k/a Hearing Officer;

In those capacities, on a daily basis, I had full regulatory oversight as to (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances.[2]   By way of example, under the law, insurance producers who sell flood insurance are licensed by the various state departments of insurance (DOIs), including the Iowa Division of Insurance and are required to take specific training as overseen by their licensing DOI, including the Iowa Division of Insurance.  Further, insurance companies who sell flood insurance are all regulated by the various state departments of insurance (DOIs).  Flood insurance policies as issued through the NFIP all have the same or substantially similar policy language.  Likewise, premiums for similar geographic areas are the same between insurers.

Applicable Flood Insurance and Agent Expertise: National Insurance Regulatory.  My expertise as to these matters can be found as follows: I am a former

  • Member of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC);
  • Member of the NAIC Executive Committee;
  • In connection with my Executive Committee work, my responsibilities included oversight over the Producers Task Force of the NAIC as well as the “C” Committee, Property Casualty Insurance issues. Included within the mission of that Committee is the responsibility for coordination of flood issues with the NFIP.

In those NAIC capacities, on an ongoing basis, I had full regulatory oversight and responsibility for and the application of (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances.

 Applicable Flood Insurance and Agent Expertise: Current Legislative.  In addition to my state and national insurance regulatory background, I have served or am serving in the following capacities, each of which included ongoing knowledge of and interaction with (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances.  Set out below are positions I have held showing this experience.

  • Elected Member of the Florida House of Representatives (currently)[3] where I serve now or have served as a Member and Vice Chairman of the Insurance Committee and/or its parent committee, the Commerce Committee (among other committees), which have legislative oversight over all insurance operations in the state (as administered by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation) including those relating to property casualty insurance flood matters and flood insurance agents;
  • As a Member of the Florida House, I have authored private insurer flood legislation and co-sponsored such legislation; Florida has passed enabling legislation permitting non-NFIP policies to be issued by private insurers.
  • In addition, I have sat on and served as Vice Chairman of the Civil Justice Subcommittee of the Florida House, which has responsibilities as to Florida laws that establish (among other things) liability, which is of course one of the legal foundations of flood insurer and flood insurance agent and insured’s obligations;

Applicable Flood Insurance and Agent Expertise: Prior Legislative.  In addition to my state and national insurance regulatory background and my current legislative experience, I have served or am serving in the following legislative capacities in the past, each of which included ongoing knowledge of and interaction with (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances. Set out below are positions I have held showing this experience.

  • Legal Counsel to the Iowa House of Representatives;
  • Chief of Staff, f/k/a as Administrative Assistant at the U.S. House of Representatives,
  • Elected Member of the Boca Raton City Council; Deputy Mayor of the City of Boca Raton, where I served as the Council’s lead on insurance issues, including that of NFIP flood plain issues;

Applicable Flood Insurance Agent Expertise: Industry. In addition to my state insurance regulatory background and my national insurance regulatory background and my legislative background as to flood insurance, I have served or am serving in the following capacities, each of which included daily knowledge of (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances.

  • President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), a major U.S. workers compensation insurance company doing business throughout the United States, which employs about 1,000 personnel. While CEO, this position entailed responsibility for pricing some $100 billion of property casualty insurance premium and my responsibilities included that of all agents and broker relationships;

Applicable Flood Insurance and Agent Expertise: Actuarial. In addition to my state and national insurance regulatory background and legislative background and industry background as to these matters, I have served or am serving in the following capacities, each of which included daily knowledge of and interaction with insurance agents as to (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances.

  • American Academy of Actuaries, Washington, D.C., (whose members are often intimately involved in flood insurance pricing issues) where I served as General Counsel and Chief Lobbyist;
  • Actuarial Standards Board (ASB); I served as general counsel to the Interim Actuarial Standards Board (IASB), the forerunner of the ASB; the professional standards setting body of the actuarial profession, paralleling on the actuarial side, FASB on the accounting side;
  • NCCI: As President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI), in addition to the balance of the staff, I employed about 150 individuals in the actuarial department, consisting of both credentialed actuaries as well as actuarial support personnel. While CEO, this position entailed responsibility for pricing some $100 billion of property casualty insurance premium; further, I had responsibility for all agents and broker relationships;
  • Commissioner of Insurance (IA); where I had responsibility to pass judgment on the actuarial proposals that accompanied most every property casualty rate change request by the industry; then approving or disapproving those proposals;

 Applicable Flood Insurance Agent Expertise: Insurance Arbitrator. In addition to my state and national insurance regulatory background and legislative background and industry background and actuarial background as to these matters, I am serving as an insurance arbitrator, which often requires daily knowledge of: (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances.

  • Nationally certified Insurance Arbitrator (ARIAS-US), where I sit as an arbitrator on disputes between (among others) flood insurers and other insurers their insurers and their agents enter decisions as to insurance and broker issues,

 Applicable Flood Insurance Agent Expertise: Reinsurance Arbitrator. In addition to my state and national insurance regulatory background and my current and past legislative background and industry background and actuarial background and my background as an insurance arbitrator, I also serve as a reinsurance arbitrator, which often requires daily knowledge of: (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances.

  • Nationally certified Reinsurance Arbitrator (ARIAS-US), where I sit as an arbitrator on disputes between (among others) flood insurers and their reinsurers and enter decisions as to insurance and agent issues,

Applicable Flood Insurance and Agent Expertise: Current Legal. In addition to my regulatory, industry, legislative, actuarial and insurance and reinsurance arbitration background, I am currently serving in the following legal capacity, which included daily knowledge of the matters at issue in the following ways: (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances.

  • I am an attorney admitted to practice in Florida, Illinois[4] and Iowa (all upon examination) with an insurance practice;
  • In the capacity as a practicing Florida lawyer, I practice at the Hager Law Firm of Boca Raton, Florida.

Applicable Flood Insurance and Agent Expertise: Prior Legal Experience. In addition to my regulatory, industry, legislative, actuarial and insurance and reinsurance arbitration background, I have served in the following legal capacity, which included daily knowledge of the matters at issue in the following ways: (i) the obligations and responsibilities of flood insurance companies and flood insurance agent in connection with their insureds and (ii) the obligations and responsibilities of insureds in such circumstances.

  • Legal Counsel to the Iowa House of Representatives;
  • Practicing attorney in Des Moines at Hager & Schachterle;
  • Iowa Counsel to the Property Casualty Insurance Association of America (PCIAA), many of whose members sold flood insurance policies.
  • Legal Counsel to the Professional Insurance Agents of Iowa (property casualty agents, who sold flood insurance policies)
  • Legal Counsel to the Iowa Association of Life Underwriters (whose member agents sold life, health and annuity products).
  • General Counsel and Chief Lobbyist to the American Academy of Actuaries, whose members are often involved in flood insurance and broker insurance matters, from an actuarial standpoint.

 Applicable Flood Insurance and Broker Expertise: Formal Undergraduate Education as a Basis for Insurance and Agents Expertise.   In addition to my regulatory, legislative, industry, actuarial, reinsurance and legal background, my undergraduate educational background has also well-equipped me to provide flood insurance expertise as follows:

  • Bachelors degree: Mathematics[5] – University of Northern Iowa;

Applicable Flood Insurance and Broker Expertise: Formal Graduate Education as a Basis for Insurance and Agents Expertise.   In addition to my regulatory, legislative, industry, actuarial, reinsurance and legal background and my undergraduate educational background, my graduate educational background has also well-equipped me to provide flood insurance expertise as follows:

  • Masters degree: Educational Psychology, University of Hawaii; and
  • Juris Doctorate degree (law degree) from the University of Illinois;

Applicable Flood Insurance and Agent Expertise: Licenses and Certifications as a Basis for Expertise.   In addition to my regulatory, legislative, industry, actuarial, arbitration, legal and educational background, my licenses and certifications provide flood insurance and agents expertise as follows:

  • Admitted to Practice before the U.S. Supreme Court;
  • Bar Admissions for the states of Iowa, Illinois[6] and Florida, all by examination;

Applicable Flood Insurance and Agent Expertise: Certifications as a Basis for Expertise.   In addition to my regulatory, legislative, industry, actuarial, arbitration, legal and educational background and my licenses, various certifications provide flood insurance and agents expertise as follows:

  • Certified U.S. Reinsurance Arbitrator;
  • Certified U.S. Insurance Arbitrator;

In the aggregate, these experiences have given me a significant grounding to provide expert flood insurance and agents’ insurance testimony.  Further detail as to my agent expertise can be reviewed at my website;

[1] Functioning as the Department’s general counsel.

[2] Because the flood insurance and broker business is conducted across state lines and more specifically, nationally, the rules and regulations (by whatever name) are substantially similar state over state.  My point is that my experience is substantially similar to parallel experience and positions in the balance of the states for that matter.  This experience is bolstered by my 43 years of direct insurance experience, including that of being a CEO of a major insurance company doing business throughout the U.S. and my seven years of experience as an elected Member of the Florida House of Representatives where I currently serve or have served as a Member and Vice Chairman of the Insurance Committee or its upstream parent committee, the Commerce Committee, with statutory and legislative oversight over the property casualty insurance agents including those who sell flood insurance and similarly as to insurers who sell flood insurance.

[3] I am currently serving my 7th year in the Florida House of Representatives.

[4] My Illinois license has been placed in inactive status by me and it is eligible for reactivation at any time upon my request.  This is so because I am in good standing with the Illinois Bar.

[5] Specifically, a B.A. in secondary mathematics education.

[6] As stated elsewhere, this license is currently in inactive status and is eligible for reactivation at any time upon my request in that I am a member of that Bar in good standing.

Read more about Flood Insurance here.