Activities & Initiatives

2016 Activities and Initiatives

  • In May, the fifth lunch and learn was offered on the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate.
  • Donated $100 to sponsor the 5k race at ASFPM Conference in Grand Rapids, MI
  • Donated a Smith Island Cake for the ASFPM Foundation Silent Auction at the ASFPM conference.
  • In June, a sixth lunch and learn was offered on Using Green Infrastructure to Reduce Your Stormwater Runoff Volume.

Lunch and Learn: The Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate

On Wednesday May 11, 2016, MAFSM hosted its fifth Lunch and Learn session titled, The Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate.

The hour-long talk was led by FEMA’s Mr. Errol Garren, Program Analyst and member of the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocates (OFIA) staff.

CEC credit is being approved by ASFPM and we will capture who attends so certifications can be issued.

Description of Presentation:

Established on an interim basis in December 2014 and made permanent in June 2015 with the designation of David Stearrett as the Flood Insurance Advocate, the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocate (OFIA) advocates for the fair treatment of policy holders and property owners by providing education and guidance on all aspects of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), identifying trends affecting the public, and making recommendations for program improvements to FEMA leadership.

Since inception, the OFIA has provided guidance and assistance on more than 300 inquiries. While seemingly small in number when compared to the more than five (5) million flood insurance policies currently in force in the United States, this number belies the time, effort and engagement that the team invests to address the majority of inquiries. The most challenging aspect of the Advocate’s role – navigating “fair treatment” for policyholders and property owners while balancing the need to understand the regulations, requirements and laws governing the NFIP.

During this presentation Mr. Garren will provide attendees with an understanding of the role of OFIA, the challenges of navigating “fair treatment”, and an overview of OFIA’s first year in operation including the major trends being experienced by policyholders and property owners that the OFIA has identified for the program to address.

Instructor Bio

Mr. Errol Garren functions as a Program Analyst and as a member of the Office of the Flood Insurance Advocates (OFIA) staff.  In that position he is engaged in case management and data analysis and is currently leading the OFIA move to the CRM Tool Salesforce to better manage the OFIA caseload. Prior to moving to OFIA, he functioned as a Program Specialist in the Grants Data Analysis and Tools Branch of the Risk Reduction Division of the Mitigation Directorate (FEMA),  where he focused on HMA system issues with an emphasis on the NEMIS –MT module.  Previously, while serving in the Floodplain Management Branch he was the compliance liaison for Regions 5 through 10 and was heavily involved in the repetitive loss issue and implementation of the Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004.

Prior to taking a position with FEMA, Errol was with Insurance Services Office, Inc. for 23 years.  In addition to conducting underwriting inspections and community evaluations of fire suppression potential, Errol administered the Community Rating System (CRS) of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in 10 states and five FEMA Regions.  Errol also performed an extensive role in pursuing the goals of the Repetitive Loss initiative by reviewing requested updates to the Repetitive Loss database for technical effectiveness and appropriateness.

A native of Des Moines, Iowa, Errol holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Safety Education from the University of Northern Iowa.  He achieved his Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter designation in 1995 and obtained his Certified Floodplain Manager designation in 2000.  He also holds a COR Level 2 designation as well as a PM Level 1 designation.