The topic of FEMA Flood Insurance can be a confusing one.  Flood Insurance rates keep increasing and people are starting to sit up and take notice about what they have, what they need and what they should be paying.  At Metro Consulting Associates (MCA) we’ve performed FEMA surveys for hundreds of structures throughout the States of Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.  We can help explain the different FEMA programs and work with you through the process.

First, it helps to know a little history about FEMA:   The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created in 1968 by Congress to make affordable flood insurance available.  In 2003, the Flood Map Modernization Program (Map Mod) was initiated to improve and update the nation’s flood maps.  What this program did for the homeowner was to force lenders to require flood insurance on any structure residing in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).  In 2012, the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) was passed into law.  The primary goal of this act was to make the program more sustainable and financially sound.  What this act did for the homeowner was to eliminate a lot of the grandfathering clauses and initiate rate increases.  In 2014, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA-14) was signed into law.  This act repealed and modified certain provisions of BW-12.  What this act did for the homeowner was to reinitiate some of the grandfathering clauses and slow some of the rate increases.

Now let’s move to requirements.  Flood Insurance is a lender requirement, so if a home has a mortgage and resides within a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) it will be required to pay flood insurance.  Since the BW-12 Act was passed, any activity touching a home’s mortgage will require the lender to evaluate the flood insurance requirement.  Activities include refinancing and simply placing your house for sale.  The lender will send the homeowner a letter stating that they have 45 days before they are required to start paying for flood insurance.  At this point, simply pick up the phone and call MCA.

Finally, let’s talk about how MCA can help you.  We can perform a free evaluation based on your address.  This evaluation will review the location of the structure in relation to the SFHA.  If the structure is found to be within the SFHA, the following two options could remove the structure:  Option #1 – If a structure has not been elevated by fill (Natural Grade), then a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) could remove the structure; Option #2 – If a structure has been elevated by fill (Natural Grade), then a Letter of Map Revision Based on Fill (LOMR-F) could remove the structure.  A LOMA can now be accomplished by one of two on-line methods: Method #1 – Electronic Letter of Map Amendment (eLOMA); Method #2 – Letter of Map Change (LOMC).

Sound a little complicated? If you are currently paying or asked to pay flood insurance, give us a call and we can take the complication out of the equation.

Trevor A. McMann, PS, PE
Senior Project Manager
Metro Consulting Associates