Welcome to the Flood Zone is a nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and educational opportunities. This newsletter has been proudly featured by the Association of State Floodplain Managers, the National Society of Professional Surveyors, and the Maine and New Hampshire Floodplain Management Programs. Please feel free to share with your friends and colleagues!

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In this Issue of Welcome to the Flood Zone:

Message from Jim
Maine NFIP Corner: A message from Sue Baker, the State NFIP Coordinator: "Maine Man Elected to International Code Council (ICC) Board"
In the News: "Americans Could Be Making a $44 Billion Mistake When it Comes to Flood Risk", "FEMA’s New Flood Insurance Policy Is Fairer—and Rewards Mitigation", and "Maine Man Elected to International Code Council (ICC) Board"
Resources: "ASFPM's New Interactive Projected Premium Change Maps", "Elevation Certificates and Risk Rating 2.0" and "How to Create a Home Inventory"
Flood Insurance Corner: "New NFIP Flood Insurance Manual - Effective October 1, 2021" and "NFIP Definition of a Basement"
Climate Corner: "NASA Drought Research Shows Value of Both Climate Mitigation and Adaptation"
Real Estate Corner: "Add ‘Climate Hazards’ to Your Home-Buyer’s Checklist" and "NAR Town Hall Featuring FEMA Senior Executive David Maurstad"

Banner Image: Image from "Pumpkin Patches in Snoqualmie Valley Recover from Flooding Before Halloween" (KOMO News, October 26, 2019)


Message from Jim

As of October 1, 2021, Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action (RR2), a federal initiative to update the National Flood Insurance Program’s (NFIP) rating methodology, officially commenced! By utilizing industry best practices and cutting-edge technology, this change is intended to deliver actuarially sound, equitable, and easier-to-understand insurance premiums that better reflect a property’s flood risk. This is great news for all program stakeholders! Providing improved product and service is always a wonderful opportunity to enhance professional representation and public safety.

With such a significant change comes an obligation for land surveyors and other consultants to self-educate and adjust the product and service we provide to our clients. Accepting that "change is inevitable", and is actually a constant, is a minimum requirement to survive - but having vision allows one to actively embrace this process by adapting one's mindset and business model, often resulting in growth. For months, our staff has been taking training seminars and engaging clients in conversations about upcoming changes in preparation for Risk Rating.

The greatest change with RR2 as it relates to land surveying is that the NFIP will no longer require an Elevation Certificate (EC) for the initial rating of a flood insurance policy. This change could result in a significant business loss for some, but in taking a closer look, I see opportunity! The EC will still remain an important document for communities, regulatory compliance, and in support of a Letter of Map Change application. It will also continue to have purpose in the insurance rating process, as it can be used to challenge some components of RR2's Rating Engine-generated values, and can support premium credits for flood vent openings and elevation of utilities.

Learning to accept change as an opportunity and not a cause for discomfort is a must for the land surveying and real estate industries. Help educate your clients and other peripheral stakeholders – it is a wonderful strategy to build a loyal client base which will result in many personal and professional benefits. As with GIS, scanning, utility locating, and other services land surveyors did not use to provide in years past, becoming the go-to flood consultant in your area is an opportunity just waiting for you to step forward. Your professional guidance will be welcomed!


Maine NFIP Corner

Sue Baker, CFM, State NFIP Coordinator

Maine Man Elected to International Code Council (ICC) Board

On September 20th, 2021, Benjamin Breadmore, Town Manager & Chief Building Official in the Town of Holden, Maine, was elected to a 3-year term as an At-Large Board of Director with the International Code Council (ICC). Ben will be serving with 17 other outstanding individuals, leading the organization of roughly 64,000 members made up from a wide variety of backgrounds, including architects, engineers, contractors, manufacturers, government officials and students.


The ICC has representation in 38 countries, 394 Chapters, 15 international Codes, and nearly 2 billion people are impacted by the I-Codes. Ben is the first representative from Maine to be elected to the board and is also the youngest to serve. Holden has a population of approximately 3,000, so this shows that every jurisdiction matters and that the next generation of Building Officials is ready to step up to serve. Congratulations, Ben!


In the News

Americans Could Be Making a $44 Billion Mistake When it Comes to Flood Risk

By: Jacob Passy and Thornton McEnery, MarketWatch, September 3, 2021, updated September 4, 2021

Despite the serious — and growing — risks that flooding presents across the country, development continues to occur in particularly threatened areas including in historic floodplains and beachfront locales. That has expanded the losses from major disasters such as hurricanes.

Making matters worse, property values have not priced in the risks associated with flooding. “Flood risk is generally not fully priced into the values of homes,” said George Ratiu, manager of economic research at Realtor.com. “By some measures, homes located in floodplains may be overvalued to the tune of $44 billion.”

Click here to read the full article.

FEMA’s New Flood Insurance Policy Is Fairer—and Rewards Mitigation

By: Laura Lightbody, Pew Charitable Trusts, September 10, 2021

For decades federally backed flood insurance rates have been calculated using a dated system, based on an old understanding of flood risk. What that has meant is that some policyholders covered by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) whose properties have lower flood risk have been paying too much while others with higher flood risk haven’t been paying enough.

Now it appears that the government is on the verge of correcting that imbalance: Earlier this year, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced its updated risk rating structure that will have property owners paying for coverage based on a more refined consideration of their structure’s risk of flooding and cost of repair.

Click here to read the full article.




ASFPM's New Interactive Projected Premium Change Maps

The Association of State Floodplain Managers used the NFIP's datasets to create an interactive mapping tool to help flood insurance policy holders understand how their premiums may change under Risk Rating 2.0.

Click here to view "Projected Risk Rating 2.0 Premium Changes by State".

Elevation Certificates and Risk Rating 2.0

An Elevation Certificate will no longer be required to purchase coverage under Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action, but can still be used to inform mitigation actions, meet regulatory requirements, and lower flood insurance premiums.

Click here to learn more!


How to Create a Home Inventory

In the event of a fire or other disaster, would you be able to remember all your possessions? Having an up-to-date home inventory will help you get your insurance claim settled faster, verify losses for your income tax return, and help you purchase the correct amount of insurance.

Click here for some tips on how to create a home inventory from the Insurance Information Institute.


Flood Insurance Corner

New NFIP Flood Insurance Manual - Effective October 1, 2021

FEMA is pleased to present this updated Risk Rating 2.0: Equity in Action (Risk Rating 2.0) edition of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Flood Insurance Manual, which applies to all new NFIP policies and to renewal policies (at the policyholder’s option) effective October 1, 2021 or later. The NFIP is on a multi-year, transformative journey to deliver excellent customer service, support community resilience, and reduce disaster suffering for all NFIP policyholders. This edition of the Flood Insurance Manual presents guidance for a new rating methodology that will provide an improved customer experience for policyholders and streamline operations for industry partners.

Click here to access links to download the manual and the appendices.


NFIP Definition of a Basement

FEMA's Flood Insurance Advocate has created short films to share information about common NFIP terminology and concepts. This one explains the definition of a basement, and what types of flood insurance coverage is offered for basements.

Click here to open the video in YouTube.


Climate Corner

NASA Drought Research Shows Value of Both Climate Mitigation and Adaptation

By: Jessica Merzdorf Evans, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, September 28, 2021

Seasonal summer rains have done little to offset drought conditions gripping the western United States, with California and Nevada seeing record July heat and moderate-to-exceptional drought according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Now, new NASA research is showing how drought in the region is expected to change in the future, providing stakeholders with crucial information for decision making.

Click here to read the full article.

for sale

Real Estate Corner

Add ‘Climate Hazards’ to Your Home-Buyer’s Checklist

By: Debra Kamin, New York Times, June 1, 2021, updated June 7, 2021

As global temperatures increase and sea levels rise, home shoppers are looking at more than just location, price, and the number of bedrooms when exploring properties. They are also wondering about the risk of natural disaster, and what that risk might mean for a home’s value over time.

Click here to read the full article.

NAR Town Hall Featuring FEMA Senior Executive David Maurstad

The National Association of Realtors hosted a Town Hall meeting with FEMA to address questions arising about Risk Rating 2.0. The meeting can be viewed as a recording and the FAQs have been summarized in a downloadable PDF.

Click here to view the recording via NAR's website.

Click here to download a PDF of the Frequently Asked Questions.


October Flood Funny

October flood cartoon

Image by Dave Granlund

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