Flood: what license should you get first as an adjuster?
October 22, 2020
*Article has been edited for clarity.
This is a question we hear often! Here’s the thing: flood is different. Way different. There are very specific requirements.
Simply put, to work NFIP claims you actually do not need licenses other than the Flood Control Number (FCN) Card. That sounds simple enough. Only, how do you get that license if you don’t have any others? Well, that’s the hard part.
In order to apply for the FCN, you must be a licensed adjuster for at least 4 years, and worked 4 consecutive years as a property adjuster. We encourage all adjusters to get their home state license first. There is some expense and study needed to acquire your home state license. There are plenty of sites online that provide the study materials and the exam, the most popular being Adjuster Pro. We suggest you set at least two weeks aside in order to review all of the study material and take the test. Take our advice and don’t rush it. Learn it, then take the test. If you rush it, you will be taking the test again and you will still need the two weeks to study for it.
Once that’s done, you can run private claims within your state, but you still cannot do NFIP Flood Claims. FEMA recognizes the need for new adjusters and understands that their qualifications are stringent. This is because they want to make sure that only highly qualified, seasoned adjusters are working with their policyholders.
Because of the need for new adjusters, FEMA has created the Flood Adjuster Capacity Program (FACP). This program allows a brand-new adjuster to sign on with an approved FACP adjusting firm in order to learn the Flood Program from a Mentoring Adjuster. CNC is an approved FACP adjusting firm and we have a robust mentoring program.
Private Flood — The Future is Here
As a flood adjuster, it’s time to embrace the growing significance of Private Flood insurance. According to the Insurance Information Institute (https://www.iii.org/article/spotlight-on-flood-insurance), FEMA policies in force have steadily declined since 2009 and the Private Flood market is poised to fill that gap. In 2019, legislation allowed the mortgage industry to begin accepting private flood policies in lieu of FEMA flood policies to protect loans. This, coupled with increasingly accurate risk modeling, paves the way for the rapid growth of Private Flood policies.
Over the next few years, adjusters should expect to see more of a blend between public and private flood claims in their workload. Now is the time to prepare.
- Obtain multiple state adjuster licenses. To handle a Private Flood claim, you must be licensed in the state where the property is located.
- Maintain your FCN annual authorization to handle FEMA flood claims.
- Attend CNC training opportunities to learn about the nuances of Private Flood claims, such as:
- Coverage Guidelines – Policy interpretation varies from carrier to carrier (Adjusters cannot rely on the FEMA Claims Manual to adjust these claims)
- Narrative Writing – a more detailed “storytelling” approach is required
- Setting Reserves – Private Flood carriers require frequently updated and highly accurate reserves
- New and Expanded Coverage – higher limits, contents replacement cost, appurtenant structures, multiple buildings on one policy, ALE, and many other items will be offered by Private Flood carriers. Stay on top of these important policy enhancements.
Contact CNC’s Recruiting, Deployment and Licensing Department (RDL) to stay informed.
Not all states require a license, but you should obtain licenses in as many states as possible. This will give you more opportunities to gain experience working property claims. You can check with CNC’s HR department to find out which states require a license. But, without a doubt, the first license to get outside of your home state should be Florida. Some other important states to get include Texas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana. The good news about these states (and many others) is that they reciprocate with other states. In other words, you don’t have to test again in these states because you already hold a license in your home state. For a full list of reciprocity, look at Adjuster Pro’s license reciprocity map.
That leaves us with the Holy Grail of licenses: the New York license. I say this as it is well known to be one of the most difficult to get. New York does not reciprocate with other states and you must study and take their exam separately in order to obtain.
We hope this helps get you started on your path to licensing. For any questions, we’re here to help — email firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 251-471-4718 option 4. We’ll see you out there!