from the United States District Court for the Southern
District of Texas
SMITH, GRAVES, and WILLETT, Circuit Judges.
E. SMITH, CIRCUIT JUDGE:
Cohen sued Allstate Insurance Company ("Allstate")
and its agent, Rachael Ray, for breach of contract after
Allstate refused to pay a claim for flood damage. Finding no
error, we affirm a summary judgment.
enacted the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968
("NFIA") "to make flood insurance available on
reasonable terms and to reduce fiscal pressure on federal
flood relief efforts." Campo v. Allstate Ins.
Co., 562 F.3d 751, 754 (5th Cir. 2009). NFIA established
the National Flood Insurance Program ("NFIP"),
which permits private insurers, such as Allstate, to issue
insurance policies-known as Standard Flood Insurance Policies
("SFIPs")-on behalf of the federal government.
Id. at 752, 754. Such insurers are referred to as
Write-Your-Own ("WYO") carriers. Id. at
752; see also 44 C.F.R. § 62.23 (2018).
this arrangement, the government underwrites the policies,
while WYO carriers act as "fiscal agents of the United
States," Gowland v. AETNA, 143 F.3d 951, 953
(5th Cir. 1998), by performing administrative tasks,
including adjusting, settling, paying, and defending all
claims, Campo, 562 F.3d at 754. Private insurers are
required to issue policies employing the precise SFIP terms
and conditions outlined in FEMA regulations, which also
dictate the way private insurers adjust and pay claims.
Id. Despite the central role played by WYO carriers,
the claims are paid from the U.S. Treasury. Gallup v.
Omaha Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 434 F.3d 341, 342 (5th
SFIP claims are subject to a statute of limitations. 42
U.S.C. § 4072. An individual suing to recover money
under an SFIP must initiate the lawsuit "within one year
after the date of the written denial of all or part of the
claim." 44 C.F.R. pt. 61, app. A(1), art. VII(R)
("article VII(R)"). The limitations provision
applies to any claim brought under the policy and to any
dispute arising from the handling of such claim. Id.
October 2015, Cohen sought to purchase an SFIP from Allstate
to cover his house and his detached garage apartment. Relying
on assurances from Ray that he did not need separate flood
insurance policies for the house and apartment, Cohen bought
a single policy for both. The policy had coverage limits of
$150, 000 for building damage and $60, 000 for
personal-property damage (damage to contents). After a flood
on April 18, 2016, which damaged the house and apartment and
their contents, Cohen discovered that his SFIP did not cover
the apartment or its contents. He notified Allstate of the
damage and initiated two claims: one for building damage and
another for personal-property damage. Based on an independent
adjuster's report, Allstate determined that the damage
under the building policy was $55, 506.28. On May 27, it sent
Cohen and John Kubala, Cohen's public insurance adjuster,
a proof-of-loss form for that amount.
3, Cohen responded by sending Allstate his own proof of loss,
claiming $93, 871.67 in building damages. He did not provide
supporting documentation. Allstate denied Cohen's
unsupported proof of loss. On July 19, Cohen executed
Allstate's original proof-of-loss form for building
damage, and Allstate issued payment two days later.
from Cohen's execution of the proof-of-loss form for
building damage, Allstate mailed Cohen another letter (the
"July 19 letter"). It purported, inter
alia, to (1) "close the personal property portion
of [Cohen's] claim without payment until such time as
[Allstate] receive[d] further supporting documentation,"
(2) "deny coverage for various items that [Cohen]
claim[ed] pending documentation of replacement from [his]
prior flood loss," and (3) "deny coverage for the
damage to [Cohen's] second residence," a detached
continued to investigate and process Cohen's
personal-property claim, even after it sent the July 19
letter. It dispatched an independent adjuster to evaluate the
flood damage; the adjuster made a damage estimate of $3,
852.13. Allstate sent Cohen a proof-of-loss form for that
amount on his ...