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FEMA and USDA Offer Payment Flexibility for Flood and Crop Programs

In response to the coronavirus crisis, FEMA will extend the grace period to renew flood insurance policies from 30 to 120 days, and the USDA has announced flexibilities to help with policies, claims, reporting and payments. 
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Earlier this week, to help serve its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) customers who may be experiencing financial hardships during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced it would be extending the grace period to renew flood insurance policies from 30 to 120 days. 

In their announcement, FEMA noted, “due to the widespread economic disruption arising from this pandemic, policyholders may not meet the standard deadline for renewing their policies. This extension will allow additional time for policyholders who may be struggling financially to pay insurance premiums and ensure their policies are not cancelled for nonpayment of premium due to circumstances beyond their control.” FEMA’s official bulletin can be found on their bulletin repository.

Similarly, the Risk Management Agency (RMA) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) issued a press release last week on flexibilities relating to the Federal Crop Insurance Program due to the coronavirus. These flexibilities are designed to help with processing policies, claims and agreements, as well as allowing producers to send electronic notifications/reports and extending the date for production reports.

Also noted in the RMA’s release is the authorization for Approved Insurance Providers to provide additional time for policyholders to pay premiums and administrative fees, which will give farmers some much-needed flexibility. A link to the release can be found on the USDA website. The RMA has also created an informative resource page.

Wyatt Stewart is Big “I” senior director of federal government affairs and Joseph Cortina is Big “I” director, federal government affairs.