Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Realtors, bankers ,insurance agents, and floodplain managers attended
the FEMA seminar sponsored by Schultz and Summers Engineering 

Monique Pilch covered Flood Insurance
BRANSON, MO-  SSE hosted an informational flood insurance seminar to help local bankers, realtors, insurance agents, developers, contractors, and homeowners better understand how the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) determines flood zones and how the flood insurance program works. Over 60 individuals involved with the property transaction process attended the 5 hour seminar.  Bill Watson from Tri-Lakes Reality said, “More and more real estate sales are being impacted because of floodplain and flood insurance issues.  The information presented at the seminar has given me a much better understanding of the process and how I can help my customers correctly deal with these issues.  I also own property in Iowa and the flooding up there was terrible.  This seminar really helped me better understand how the process works.”

Scott Samuels, the former Floodplain Management Engineer for the State of Missouri Emergency Management Agency (SEMA), and Monique Pilch, the current FEMA RVII Insurance Representative, were the main instructors for the day.  Scott presented a program covering Floodplain basics: NFIP background, why FIRM's are updated, and what to do when you are in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA). They also went over Elevation Certifications and the LOMA processes.  Monique focused her time on Flood Insurance Rate Maps and how to understand the effects of map changes on flood insurance, as well as working through the claims processing after a flood.  “Teaching in a seminar like this is a great way to help the public better understand the FEMA flood management process and how the insurance program works.  The Branson participants were very engaged and asked some great questions.  With all the flooding that has taken place here I very much enjoyed helping them better understand and participate in the program, commented Monique.”     Rodney Jetton from SSE concluded the session with a summary of their surveying services, prices, and how they help homeowners obtain a LOMA.

Sixty-eight counties in Missouri either just adopted new maps or will be adopting new FEMA flood maps, including Taney, Stone, Christian, Lawrence, Barry, and Green counties in southwest Missouri.  These map updates place some properties in the floodplain while others may be removed.  Once a property is in the floodplain flood insurance can be required.  Ron Tagge, owner of Ron Tagge Insurance added, “Lenders are now  federally required to determine if a property is in a floodplain.  If there are any doubts homeowners are being forced to buy flood insurance.  I’m dealing with more and more of these situations, but if the homeowner has a survey done and proves they are above the floodplain they can eliminate or reduce the cost of the insurance.  We do everything we can to make sure a homeowner has the required coverage, but if they do not need it we can help them get the help they need to show FEMA and their banker exactly where their house is in relation to the floodplain.”

Scott Samuels explains how maps are updated
Most communities where new maps have been adopted report having new properties end up in the flood zone while some properties are removed.  This forces those new property owners to obtain flood insurance.  Sometimes properties that have never flooded and are clearly out of the floodplain are shown by the new map to be in the floodplain.  Instructor Scott Samuels explained it by saying, “The Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) map updates are designed after careful watershed studies using aerial photos and contour lines.  While these tools are good, they do not perfectly reflect the elevation of a property within the floodplain.  Conducting a survey is the best way to show the exact elevation of a property.”

Wendell Beard looks over a plat map
FEMA recognizes that the maps are not perfect and have developed a process for removing a property from the floodplain.  If a homeowner provides an Elevation Certificate (EC) to FEMA that shows the finished floor of a structure is above the floodplain elevation, FEMA then gives the homeowner a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) that can be used to remove the property from the flood zone.  SSE surveyor Wendell Beard mentioned, “I have done hundreds of elevation surveys around our lakes here in southwest Missouri and about 75% of them prove that the structure is not in the floodplain.  I know it’s a hassle for the folks who have to deal with it, but helping homeowners determine if they are in the floodplain is a part of my job I very much enjoy.”

Schultz and Summers Engineering has developed a program that lowers the costs and speeds up the process of getting a survey done and applying for a LOMA to FEMA.  Their program has kept them very busy and they report doing over 650 flood elevation surveys in 2011.  Business Development Director Rodney Jetton added, “Our flood survey business has exploded because we charge a low standard fee, offer neighborhood pricing discounts, guarantee a quick turnaround time and even offer a minimal trip charge if the survey shows you are in the flood plain.” 
Participants learned a lot about floodplain liability

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing this information.
    It will really helpful to solve my confusion

    Process $ Chemical Engineering


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