FEMA doesn’t require participation from a Community CEO or Floodplain Administrator for a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) or Conditional Letter of Map Amendment (CLOMA) since FEMA’s determination will be made based on natural, as-built elevations. However, the community is expected to play an active role for Letters of Map Revision based on Fill (LOMR-F), Conditional Letters of Map Revision based on Fill (CLOMR-F) and Letters of Map Revision Floodway (LOMR-FW) by reviewing the Community Acknowledgement Form and signing when appropriate.
So, you decided to purchase or refinance a home and it turns out that it’s in a FEMA-designated Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) and your lender says, “you have two options, get flood insurance or a get a LOMA.” Sound familiar?
Although many homes are correctly shown in the SFHA (Special Flood Hazard area or high-risk flood zone), sometimes there’s newer or better information available that wasn’t considered when FEMA established the high-risk flood zone. FEMA uses engineering best practices and standards to delineate its flood zones, but the data is usually only good to +/- 2 feet. That’s why FEMA created the MT-1 process allowing property owners to challenge the zone classification of their home or property by submitting more detailed information.
To put that in perspective, there are about 3,144 county and county equivalent areas in the US. Therefore, about 12% of the counties hold about 90% of the flood insurance policies. And there are about 169 million people living in those counties, which is 54% of the US population.