Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) Project
UPDATE: New Flood Maps and LOMA's
- November 15, 2021: FEMA has stopped using flood maps to rate new flood insurance policies, opting instead to use its new matrix known as Risk Rating 2.0. Absent federal intervention, come April 2022, this new matrix will be used to rate all policies. Thus, obtaining a LOMA won't have the same rate savings benefit as in the past. The flood maps will still exist, but for only two purposes:
- Maintain minimum standards for construction relative to flooding hazards, and
- Allow mortgage lenders to determine if the federal mandatory flood insurance law applies to specific buildings.
- December 21, 2020: With FEMA proposing new flood maps in the near future, obtaining a LOMA would be ineffective as they'll likely be extinguished shortly after being issued.
- However, the renewed importance of the LOMA process may prevail for a select number of property owners after the new flood maps become effective, where the grade alongside the building is equal to or higher than the new Base Flood Elevation for that site.
- A LOMA regarding new flood maps can't be submitted before the effective date of new maps but can be ready for filing the day after.
When buildings within a regulated flood zone are located on a site where the land is higher than the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) designated flood level, these buildings may be reclassified as being in less-expensive flood zones. The LOMA Project aims to identify and educate eligible property owners about the LOMA application process.
A home is located within an "AE-6" flood zone, where the minimum expected flood level is six-feet above sea level. Yet the ground - at its lowest point alongside the house - is 6.1-feet above sea level. Since the ground is higher than the minimum flood level, the building is eligible for FEMA reclassification. In this example, a LOMA changes the building's flood insurance classification from "AE-6" to the much less expensive "Shaded-X" flood zone.
The flood zone boundary lines were drawn with a rather broad brush. FEMA knew there would be instances within these zones that wouldn't be accurate, so it devised a method to reclassify such buildings.
There are several benefits to this:
- Fewer construction requirements
- Improve the resale value of your property
- Lower flood insurance rates
Updates About the Process
- January 3, 2020: Most existing LOMAs/LOMRs will be rescinded with new flood maps FEMA is proposing that likely won't become effective before mid- to last 2021.
FEMA's Preliminary Summary of Map Actions (SOMA) (PDF) is a list of current map changes that will likely be extinguished when the new flood maps become effective. As expected, almost all existing map changes (LOMAs and LOMRs) will be rescinded when the new maps take effect.
- March 6, 2017: New LOMA Mailing Address: If you're planning to mail a LOMA application to FEMA, the address has changed to:
3601 Eisenhower Ave. STE 500
Alexandria, VA 22304-6426
- December 19, 2016 - Printing Property Online Tax Maps: After the workshop video was published, an online method of finding and printing tax maps was discovered via the Monroe County Property Appraiser's website that will save you a trip to the Property Appraiser's office.
- September 12, 2016: Since we held this workshop, about four dozen property owners have obtained LOMAs for their properties. Some report savings upwards of $1,000 to $3,000 yearly on their flood insurance premiums. It's also possible to obtain a refund for the prior year's over-payment (contact your flood insurance agent once you have your LOMA.)
- June 14, 2016: The city held a LOMA Project workshop on June 14, 2016. This 40-minute video is now available for viewing online. The handout being referenced during this workshop is also available for viewing.
How It Works
FEMA's Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA) process is the method for reclassifying such buildings. A completed LOMA application usually needs to be accompanied by certain certified documents: A deed, Tax map, Elevation Certificate, and copy of the flood map. As of mid-August 2016, LOMA application processing times are now projected at eight (8) weeks.
Example of AE-6 Flood Level
Using newly acquired software, City staff identified a number of buildings with the higher ground than the minimum flood level. The following example shows a neighborhood within an AE-6 flood zone. Aerial survey Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) measurements (black colored numbers every 10 feet) indicate the ground is higher than six feet above sea level:
The following map highlights properties believed to have buildings within the AE-6 flood zone, where the ground is higher than six-feet, and are thus LOMA eligible.
The grey-shaded areas are outside the Special Flood Hazard Area, officially known as "X" and "Shaded-X" type flood zones. The areas shaded in pale yellow are in different-level flood zones.
If you have a FEMA Elevation Certificate for your building, there's an easy way to tell if your building qualifies for a LOMA. In Section B, Block "B9" for "Base Flood Elevation," it should say "6" (for six feet above sea level). Look in Section C for the measurement on Line "C2f" for "Lowest Adjacent Grade." If this measurement is 6.0 or higher, your building qualifies.