Q: Force Placement 9 – When may a lender or its servicer charge the borrower for the cost of force-placed insurance?
A: A lender, or a servicer acting on its behalf, may force place flood insurance and charge the borrower for the cost of premiums and fees incurred by the lender or servicer in purchasing the flood insurance on the borrower’s behalf at any time starting from the date on which flood insurance coverage lapsed or did not provide a sufficient coverage amount. The lender or servicer would not have to wait 45 days after providing notification to force place insurance. Lenders that monitor loans secured by property located in an SFHA for continuous flood insurance coverage can minimize any gaps in coverage and any charge to the borrower for coverage for a timeframe prior to the lender’s or its servicer’s date of discovery and force placement. If a lender or its servicer, despite its monitoring efforts, discovers a loan with no or insufficient coverage, for example, due to a remapping, it may charge the borrower for premiums and fees incurred by the lender or servicer for a force-placed flood insurance policy purchased on the borrower’s behalf, including premiums and fees for coverage, beginning on the date of no or insufficient coverage, provided that the policy was effective as of the date of the insufficient coverage. When a lender or its servicer purchases a policy on the borrower’s behalf, the lender or its servicer may not charge for premiums and fees for coverage beginning on the date of lapse or insufficient coverage if that policy purchased on the borrower’s behalf did not provide coverage for the borrower prior to purchase. A lender’s or servicer’s frequent need to purchase policies on a borrower’s behalf having coverage that precedes the date of purchase may, depending upon the facts and circumstances, indicate that there are weaknesses within the lender’s or servicer’s compliance management system.