We recently provided survey data to help our clients eliminate the mandatory floodplain insurance requirement for a building that appeared to be located in the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) on the Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM). Our surveyors used the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Flood Insurance Study (FIS) profile of the flood source to determine the base flood elevation (BFE) for the site location by interpolating the distance and elevation from a known benchmark.
Our licensed surveyors surveyed the structure to identify the true elevation of the top of the bottom floor, the lowest elevation of machinery or equipment servicing the building, and the elevations of the lowest and highest adjacent grade of the structure. With this detailed information, we prepared a certified elevation certificate and filed a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) with FEMA. Once approved by FEMA, our clients were able to remove the structure from the SFHA. This saved our client money by removing the mandatory floodplain insurance purchase requirement.
Floodwaters do not follow manmade lines created on paper maps; therefore, businesses and homeowners should still consider purchasing floodplain insurance. The good news in this case was the removal of the SFHA designation allows the owner to purchase flood insurance at a lower premium. Not all structures will be so lucky, but accurate data does allow for improved risk assessment and may still reduce insurance premiums if your structure’s elevation is higher than previously assumed.