Understanding a L.O.M.A.

What is a LOMA?

A LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) is a document produced by FEMA that verifies or amends the flood status of a structure.  FEMA is the only government organization that has the authority to issue a LOMA.

Why/How does it work?

In order to determine if a LOMA will be issued, FEMA compares structural elevations to the Base Flood Elevation (BFE) of the structure. If the structural elevations are above the BFE, the structure can be effectively removed from the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and from the mandatory purchase requirement for flood insurance. Thus, a successful LOMA officially changes the flood status of a structure.

What is required to obtain a LOMA?

The most important document required for a LOMA would be an Elevation Certificate. Produced by a licensed land surveyor, the Elevation Certificate will provide the necessary structural elevations needed for the LOMA. The other two pieces of required documentation are a signed, stamped copy of the deed (by county clerk) and a subdivision or tax map.

How can WTG help?

We pride ourselves on being able to help homeowners/buyers navigate the ins and outs of this entire process. Before pursuing a LOMA, it’s best to confirm your true flood status with a WTG Flood Determination. If we determine that the structure is not within the SFHA, no further action is required. Our report can, quite literally, be taken to the bank.

Should WTG determine that your structure is in fact affected, the next step in the process would be to order an Elevation Certificate (EC) from WTG. Once produced, our team of Certified Floodplain Managers will review the EC and determine the likelihood of a successful LOMA.

Should we determine the likelihood is good, the LOMA application can be ordered from our site as well. Once placed, our staff will immediately begin drafting the application and get it over to FEMA. Once issued by FEMA, the structure will be outside the SFHA and flood insurance will no longer be required!

Call 855-653.5663 or navigate to www.myfloodstatus.com to find out more about how we can help you today!

The Real Estate Agents Guide to Reading a Flood Determination

Western Technologies Group (WTG) is dedicated to being a reliable and consistent resource for our clients which include banks and realtors nationwide. We strive to offer the most up-to-date, accurate flood-related information and support in the industry, and we do our best to make sure that any information we give is as simple to understand as possible. One of the cornerstones of our company is the Flood Determination. Understanding it will offer valuable insight into our company, why we are the industry leader, and how this product is a valuable tool for you and your clients.

What is a Flood Determination?

A flood determination is a report that provides information about a specific property or structure. It confirms where an insurable structure (home, office building, warehouse, etc.) sits with regard to the flood zone. This document is referred to as the Standard Flood Hazard Determination Form, or SFHDF.

What is it used for?

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) identifies the zones of flood risk and dictates the standards for flood insurance coverage. If your property includes an insurable structure that falls within a specific high-risk flood zone area, called a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), you are required to carry flood insurance if you are obtaining a mortgage from a federally backed lender.

Hundreds of thousands of homeowners’ properties have been misidentified and rated incorrectly, costing them tens of thousands of dollars per year.

How do WTG Flood Determinations differ from the industry?

Other companies claim to offer reliable determinations, but upon examining the fine print on their reports, you’ll find that they’re not insured, have accuracy limitations, and do not protect you with regard to liability.

WTG’s flood determinations (offered at MyFloodStatus.com) are completely insured and move all risk and liability away from you. We also utilize the most accurate technology available providing you with the most accurate visual verification of where the flood zone falls with regard to your property or structures. The report includes:

  • The FEMA SFHDF – this identifies the flood zone and states whether flood insurance is required under NFIP rules.
  • Visual Verification Map – A visual interpretation of how the determination was made.This overlay identifies the subject property in real space in conjunction with the effective flood insurance rate map.
  • Advisory/Preliminary maps – (when available) which give the property owner a ‘heads up’ to possible future changes to their flood zone.
  • Access to the Flood Resource Center – staffed by multiple Certified Floodplain Managers who routinely help our clients from start to finish with flood related issues should you have questions about a property or report beyond what the Flood Determination dictates.

How do I read a Flood Determination?

There are many components found on a WTG flood determination. Our goal, as a company and of this blog, is to make them as easy to follow as possible. Listed below are the pertinent sections located on a standard flood determination form and how to interpret them.

  • Box A: The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Community Information including community name, county name and NFIP community number
  • Box B: NFIP community panel, including the effective date and flood zone. (Remember all properties are in a flood zone, but not all properties are in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA).
  • Box D: Perhaps the most important box. It indicates whether flood insurance is required. The flood insurance requirement can only be imposed on an insurable structure. If there is no structure, then no insurance is required regardless of what zone you are in.
  • Box E:  Comments made by the preparer of the SFHDF. WTG may place information here that pertains to the report itself.

Should you have questions about a property or report beyond what the Flood Determination dictates, our expert staff is here to help. Our tools and resources can help you be the most educated on a potential property sale, can help protect you and your clients, examine avenues for mitigation, seek a LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment), and can also help you market low-risk properties that reside in high-risk areas.

What does the “100-year flood” mean?

Many people hear the term “100-year flood” and are confused about what this actually means and how it affects their property as well as their flood insurance coverage.

The 100-year flood is synonymous with several other terms that you may have heard, including “Base Flood”, “1% annual Chance Flood”, “High Risk Flood Zone” and “Special Flood Hazard Area” (SFHA). The 100 year-flood zone is any zone containing the letters “A” or “V”. When your structure is within one of these 100-year flood zones, flood insurance IS REQUIRED by FEMA.

Where does the name “100-year flood” come from?

 As development in the US grew, we needed a system for evaluating levels of risk for home-owners’ structures. So, we developed the National Flood Insurance Program. The goal of the program was to designate which property owners would be required to carry flood insurance, and who would not, based on their location and related risk of flooding.

The 100-year flood became the standard measure to identify the flood insurance requirement as it was the fairest balance between offering reasonable protection and creating an overly stringent regulation.

Common Misconceptions about the 100-year flood

The real chances of flooding – The most common misinterpretation is that a 100-year flood is a flooding event that happens once in every 100 years.  The 100-year flood zone is actually a designated area that has a 1-in-100 chance (or 1% chance) of flooding in any given year.  This also means it can flood more than once within a 100-year period, and can even flood more than once in the same year.

Nature is always unpredictable – Also, it’s important to point out that even when we do our best to observe key statistics, Mother Nature can always be unpredictable. Statistical averages based on past precipitation/storm records give us information, but not guarantees.

Under-estimating true risk – You may be on the outer edges of a high-risk flood zone, thinking you are safe from flooding.  However, consider these statistics…over the course of a 30-year mortgage, you may experience a 26% chance of being flooded (100-year flood zone).

Flood Risk likely will change over time: Flood risk can and does change over time; in fact FEMA is constantly updating maps all over the country. When new maps are issued, your risk may have changed as well, along with your flood insurance requirements.

How You Can Protect Yourself

Consider flood insurance if you are close to a Special Flood Hazard Area, and, don’t ignore flood insurance if you are far from a high hazard flood zone. After all, FEMA states that 25-30% of all flood insurance claims are paid in moderate-low risk areas.

To obtain the most accurate and reliable flood information, get a certified insured Flood Determination from www.myfloodstatus.com. Your report will show your current and proposed future flood status, along with “visual verification”, via screen shots, of your flood zone status.  Confirm, challenge, and know your true flood status with www.myfloodstatus.com today!

 

Determining Flood Zones

Determining Flood Zones

Can you rely on public flood information when determining flood zones?

The answer is NO.  When you adopt this practice, you leave yourself open to liability.   All public sources will have disclaimers in varying degrees which express the fact that the information should not be used for flood insurance rating purposes.  These public systems are also not 100% accurate in identifying property locations and are not official determinations of flood status.

You should consider many factors when determining flood zones:

  • Is my INSURABLE STRUCTURE affected by a high risk flood zone?
  • Is there a LOMA or LOMR removing the property or structure from the High Risk Flood Zone?
  • Was there a recent map change that could have changed my flood status?
  • Is there a pending map change that could change my flood status in the future?
  • What is the elevation of the structure compared to the Base Flood Elevation?

This information is not readily available and sometimes not easily understood.  This data should be analyzed by a flood determination expert to insure accuracy when determining flood zones and the mandatory purchase requirement for flood insurance.

Many considerations are instrumental in determining a property’s flood status and the flood insurance premium.  New maps are changing the flood zones of properties all across the country.  A flood determination is no longer a check box on a form. New laws and regulations regarding mitigation and rebuilding must be observed.

Run a Flood Determination Report from www.myfloodstatus.com.  The report comes with the professional guidance of the “Flood Resource C­­enter”, which will provide customer support, understanding and direction.  Certified flood plain managers and flood specialists can help lower flood insurance premiums and possibly remove properties from high risk flood zones.

Each report is insured.  You shift the liability and the burden of dealing with flood related issues to the professionals.  Don’t put yourself at risk by determining flood zones with misleading online tools.   Leave this to My Flood Status and the Flood Resource Center powered by WTG, they stand behind every determination.

For more information go to www.myfloodstatus.com or call 855-653-5663.

What is a flood zone?

What flood zone am I in?

All properties within a community that participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are in a flood zone. Every structure located in one of the more than 20,400 NFIP-participating communities is in a “flood zone”. Determining what flood zone you are in and if that zone is considered a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) are of paramount importance. And, as we have seen in recent years and even recent months, being located outside a SFHA does not guarantee immunity from the possibility of flood loss.

A SFHA is any zone beginning in the letters “A” or “V”, these are the high-risk zones where flood insurance is required. All SFHA’s are flood zones, not all flood zones are SFHA’s.

Supposed “non-hazardous” flood zone areas, historically delineated using “B, C, or X are considered areas of moderate of minimal hazard. Flood insurance is not required in these areas.

When determining flood status, the location of any insurable structure(s) on the property is key. Flood insurance is only required (by FEMA) when any part of an (inhabited) structure(s) encroaches (touches) a SFHA.  This is FEMAs Mandatory Purchase Requirement on a property with a federally backed mortgage.

You are eligible to purchase flood insurance as long as your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. If you do not have a mortgage and are in or near a SFHA, we highly recommend you purchase flood insurance.