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FEMA's Flood Zone Remapping Impacts Florida Homeowners

Sean is a licensed agent in Florida and Massachusetts and is currently pursuing a CPCU Designation. Find out more about FEMA Flood Zone Remapping Impacts Florida Homeowners.
Florida, Florida, United States of America ( 15/01/2012
The scoop on Flood Zone Remapping in Florida
The new FEMA maps are currently in a 90-day appeal period. They will be releasing the new flood maps for Broward County in June. What do these changes mean for the 24,000 Condo Associations and Homeowners in Broward County and other counties in Florida who will be undergoing similar changes?
Scenario A: if you were in a non-mandatory zone (labeled X), you may be placed in a mandatory one (AH for example). The association will now have to buy flood insurance.
Scenario B: If you were in a mandatory zone (labeled AH for example), you may have been placed in a non-mandatory one (labeled X). The association no longer has an obligation to buy flood insurance.
Zone A Flood insurance rate zone determined by approximate methods, as no Base Flood Elevations (BFEs) are available for these areas. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AE Flood insurance rate zone that corresponds with flood depths greater than 3 feet. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone AH Flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to areas of shallow flooding with average depths between 1 and 3 feet. Mandatory flood insurance purchase requirements apply.
Zone VE Flood insurance rate zone that corresponds to coastal areas that have additional hazards associated with storm waves. Mandatory flood insurance requirements apply.
Zone X-Shaded0.2 PCT Annual Chance Flood HazardZone X
Flood insurance rate zones that are outside the flood plain or the average flood depths of less than 1 foot. Flood insurance purchase is not mandatory.

It is a good idea for all Florida homeowners to check the zone in the County website under FEMA flood maps or the FEMA web site.
I met with a board president in Miami before New Year’s who was in a real jam because he had many non-paying foreclosure units. He did not have enough money to pay for the Associations’ expenses. The biggest line item was the $40,000 premium for Insurance. with $7,000 of it for flood insurance.
FEMA remapped Miami-Dade last year, yet I am meeting quite a few associations that are unaware their Flood Zone had changed. Further, they are also unaware that a Flood Zone can be changed by applying with FEMA (such as this case). After listening to their financial concerns, I asked if the association had inquired into applying for a Letter Of Map Amendment with FEMA to see if they could drop the flood insurance.
After meeting with the Flood Map Rezoning specialist, the association found out they could be rezoned to a X zone which means Flood insurance became optional from that point on. Their total insurance premium expense just went down $7,000 or 17.5% to $33,000.
Flood Zones can be appealed! FEMA can ‘remove’ someone from a mandatory zone if given the right paperwork and the data supports the request. They then give the association a LOMA letter (Letter of Map Amendment) for each building and they can chose to no longer carry flood insurance.
For example, I live in an association that was originally in a mandatory zone AH. They obtained LOMA letters for each building and are now in a non-mandatory zone X. As a result of these LOMAs, the association does not carry flood insurance and our lender can’t require us to carry it or force-place coverage. LOMAs don’t always get approved. I mean, if you are literally on the beach, FEMA will probably not approve a LOMA request.
How to check your Flood Zone: It’s easy!! Go to and type in your address. Click on the “Flood Risk” tab and you will see your flood zone. You can also give them your email at the “Notify Me” tab and they will send you quarterly updates.
Applying for a LOMA letter is a rather tedious process so there are experts (usually former FEMA employees) that offer to help submit the request. Their fee is usually a percentage of the annual flood premium (from 50% to 70%). Be careful who you hire as FEMA will only allow one application and if it isn’t done right and gets rejected, then you won’t be able to re-apply.
I am not recommending to anyone they drop their flood insurance as about 20% of flood claims come in from X zones, however, it is my fiduciary obligation to inform the board of their options.
About Sean Virtue
Regional Vice President
Mack, Mack and Waltz Insurance Group
Toll Free: 855-84-CONDO
In the last 15 years, Sean has assisted in the launch and growth of several Florida personal and commercial insurance carriers. Sean currently specializes in Condominium Association Master Policies, Commercial Residential and Multi Unit Insurance.His unique expertise in MGA practices enhances his presentations of complex risk management. With world-wide industry contacts and broad international reinsurance knowledge, Sean is sought out for his insurance consulting, audits and transactional experience. Sean's site, provides insider knowledge to decision-makers for optimal insurance procurement.


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Sean vitue

Mack, Mack and Waltz Insurance Group
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