Welcome to the Flood Zone! A nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and edu

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Welcome to the Flood Zone!

A nationally distributed resource for those interested in flood zone issues, land surveying, real estate, history, and educational opportunities. If you no longer wish to receive this newsletter, simply click the unsubscribe link in the footer of this message.

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Message from Jim

The Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012 (BW-12) was passed by Congress and signed by the President to extend the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) for five years, while implementing much needed program reform. As we remember, this act caused great strife with many people, ranging from homeowners to lawmakers. This energy was further supported with a fear that the real estate market would crash if implemented.

Two years later in 2014, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act (HFIAA) was passed, which repealed or modified certain provisions of BW-12. Knowing that many provisions remained and others would only be more slowly implemented, I became puzzled as to why discussions of flood risk, mapping, and insurance premiums were reduced or eliminated. It seems like many people exhaled and moved on with their busy lives with comfort they had dodged a large obstacle. We certainly saw a reduction in the quantity of students (mostly real estate licensees) attending our flood classes after HFIAA passed.

Watching this process unfold over the last four years has been quite interesting. As the real estate market continues to chug along with very low interest rates, the window of opportunity continues to exist to appropriately evaluate flood risk, explore options to eliminate or reduce flood insurance premiums, and understand how the program impacts value. The window is closed for many by choice, but is without lock, so open it up and better understand the flood program.

Evaluating risk and understanding mitigation strategies must stay in the real estate industry forefront. If you have not improved your understanding of the program since the passing of either act, you have fallen behind. The best consultants are the ones who provide solutions for their clients, or more importantly, improve a client’s life, now and for the future.


Speaking Engagements

Maine Association of Assessing Officers (MAAO) Fall Conference, Sept. 7-9, 2016

Jim will be presenting "Land Surveying, Flood Zones, and Real Estate" for CEO Training on Thursday September 8th, 2016 from 1:30 PM - 4:30 PM at the Sebasco Harbor Resort.
Credits are available for MBOIA Members.
For more information on the three day conference click here.

Upcoming 3 Credit Continuing Education Class:

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Join us at Husson University on September 20, 2016 for a 3-hour continuing education course approved for 3 credits for Maine real estate licensees, real estate appraisers, and code enforcement officers (land use).

This program is designed to educate real estate professionals seeking to further their professional development, as well as enhance client representation. The first module provides an in-depth understanding of common land surveying products: Mortgage Loan Inspections and Boundary Surveys. The second module gives an introduction to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and its widespread impact on risk assessment, insurance rates, real estate value, community requirements, and permitting and design decisions.

Where: Husson University, 340 County Road, Westbrook, ME (Room 162)
When: 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Fee: $39



Flood Mapping Related Forms

We often talk about NFIP documents such as the Elevation Certificate, Letter of Map Amendment requests, and Flood Hazard Determinations. Not sure where to find them? They can all be found on one page on FEMA's website!

Click here to check FEMA's Flood Mapping Related Forms page!

Reducing Flood Risk to Residential Buildings that Cannot Be Elevated

The image below is from a 2015 FEMA publication which describes various options homeowners can take to better protect their buildings from flood damage, as well as potentially reduce flood insurance premiums. Some residences cannot be structurally elevated such as those with attached dwelling units, connected row houses, townhomes, or older dwellings. The mitigation options described here apply to residences which 1) are existing buildings (not new construction) and 2) have not sustained Substantial Damage or Substantial Improvement due to flooding.

Click here to download a pdf of the publication.

reducing risk

Examples of some retrofitting techniques shown in the image are: basement infill with gravel, subgrade flood vents in former basement access, and elevating utilities above known flood height.


Flood Terminology: Elevated Building

A building that has no basement and that has its lowest elevated floor raised above ground level by foundation walls, shear walls, posts, piers, pilings, or columns. Solid (perimeter) foundations walls are not an acceptable means of elevating buildings in V and VE zones.


In the News

"Forget Seawalls: There's a Cheaper, More Effective Way to Protect Shorelines"

By: Kate Yoder, Grist, July 11, 2016

"As rising seas begin to creep up our shores, we’re building walls to try to keep the water out. As much as 14 percent of U.S. coasts are already 'armored' — that is, built up with hard infrastructure like concrete seawalls. But it’s an imperfect solution. NOAA says that this coastal armor often destroys habitat and causes shorelines to erode even faster.

A better solution might be 'living shorelines', a design that stabilizes banks with a clever use of wetland plants, sand dunes, stones, and other natural elements (such as oyster reefs, coral reefs, or mangroves, when conditions allow)."
Read more!

These Are the Most Uninsured and Underinsured Risks in America: Report

By: Caitlin Bronson, Insurance Business America, May 26, 2016

"There are generally three root causes of underinsurance: Insurability (where risks like cyber liability or terrorism are challenging to insure against), buying behavior (precipitated by faulty risk perception or lack of consumer awareness) and undervaluation (most property is undervalued by an average of 26%, according to the Swiss Re report).

Hartwig also suggested a fourth: consumer assurance that the federal government will take responsibility for much of the damage in the event of a natural disaster."
Read more!


August Flood Funny

alice in floodland 798135

"Alice in Floodland" by Rodrigo, April 11, 2010


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