An “Act of God” can neither be planned for nor prevented. By contrast, a flood caused or contributed to by an act of negligence, even if the negligence simply exacerbated the flooding, may present a recovery opportunity. The Hurricane Katrina litigation is proof that flood recoveries are possible: the Army Corps of Engineers was held responsible for failing to maintain and operate properly a navigation channel (MRGO). This breakdown was a substantial cause of the failure of the Reach 2 levee, which contributed to the flooding of the plaintiffs’ properties. The question was not whether the defendant caused the flood, but rather whether the defendant’s negligence contributed to the damage to the plaintiff’s property.

Since 2000, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has paid more than $25 billion in claims, and claims are expected to grow in size and number. While flood claims present challenges for all insurance professionals, they also present recovery opportunities. Some simple, common-sense guidelines will enhance recovery potential for flood subrogation claims.

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