The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy is a creature of federal statute and is limited to what it says to protect the federal treasury. In Pittman v. Farmers Fire Ins. Exchange, the insureds, by failing to comply with the policy conditions and by having a loss not covered by the policy, lost their suit against the insurer. That left them with nothing more than a suit against the agent, who they claimed promised coverage that did not exist in their NFIP policy, for misrepresenting the coverage available.

Case background

Plaintiffs Catherine Lynn Pittman and Troy Vernon Pittman owned a single-family home in the town of Peculiar, Mo., on property that abuts a river. Catherine contacted defendant Colby Yoder, an insurance agent for Farmers Fire Insurance Exchange, a "Write-Your-Own" Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) company. Catherine specifically told Yoder that she wanted a flood insurance policy to cover the contents of her basement. She detailed the high-value possessions she kept in the basement, including furniture, televisions, kitchen appliances, a computer and hunting supplies.

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