We know that FEMA has been conducting a remapping project in Monroe County.  The new maps are expected to be presented for community review in 2019, and base flood elevations (BFE) will change and flood zones will change as a result of the new maps.

So, does that mean that anyone who currently has an elevation certificate will have to get a new one?  That’s the question City of Key West FEMA Coordinator Scott Fraser is asking.  For example, if an elevation certificate lists a property being in an AE6 zone, but the new maps place the property in an AE8 zone, will the homeowner have to pay again for a corrected elevation certificate?

Last year FEMA sent letters to policyholders in Special Flood Hazard Areas (which is all of Monroe County) a couple of months prior to renewal to inform them of their known flood risk and how it relates to the premium being charged. In the letter FEMA encourages property owners to get an elevation certificate if they don’t already have one, so that their premium is as close to accurate as possible.

Fortunately the answer to Scott’s question is “No new elevation certificate required,” UNLESS a there was a physical change to the building or the land adjacent to the building.  A Correction Memo can correct the change in flood zone or BFE without breaking the certifier’s seal.  This updated data is valid for National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policies, Community Rating System (CRS) discounts, and insurance purposes, and must be utilized by the insurance companies to write the policies.

If an insurance company is requesting a new elevation certificate because the old one “has expired,” they are violating FEMA’s guidance documents.  The insurance company can request updated photographs, to confirm that no physical changes have occurred, and can request a new certificate if physical changes have occurred, otherwise the correction memo is sufficient.

If an insurance company is doing this incorrectly, or refuses to do it correctly, you can reach out to the NFIP’s Flood Insurance Advocate Office with assistance in resolving it directly with the homeowner and the insurance company.

You can contact your local floodplain managers with questions also, and their contact information can be found on FIRMKeys Resource Page.

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