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Preliminary flood hazard data offers an early look at a property or community’s projected flood risk. While FEMA issues Effective Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM), which dictate current flood status and flood insurance coverage premiums, FEMA also issues Preliminary FIRMs that show what changes to flood status (and hence flood insurance premiums) may come into effect in the future.

This data can be very useful to lenders, agents, investors, builders and other professionals, giving them the opportunity to see how they, or their clients, may be affected by changes to FIRMs within their area of influence. 

Flood Determination

The Benefits of Preliminary Data 

While policies cannot be written using Preliminary data, the information can be enough to help make an informed decision, manage expectations, anticipate impactful future changes, or take actions now based on the current FIRM.

Lenders of federally-backed loans can also consider Preliminary maps as a ‘heads up’ to changes they will need to respond to as part of their legal compliance requirements.

Example Scenarios 

Scenario 1: Managing Expectations and Compliance

A lender is processing a home loan for a client. The client has full intentions to build a large deck attached to the home.  Currently the home, nor the space where the deck will be built, are in the Special Flood Hazard Area; however, a preliminary map shows that the SFHA could be moving closer to the home and intersecting the planned deck.  This could result in a future incurrence of a flood insurance premium on the home. It would be helpful to not have this be a surprise that pushes the homeowners out of the deal, or the lender out of compliance.

Scenario 2: Investment Protection Opportunities

A private lender is interested in investing in a commercial property, only to find that the property currently requires flood insurance, thanks to the tip of the building touching the Special Flood Hazard Area. However, preliminary data shows the SFHA moving away from the building in the future, making it a worthwhile endeavor to secure a LOMA (Letter of Map Amendment) right away. 

How WTG Makes Preliminary Data Available To You

Preliminary data is made available in a number of formats.  For the average person, accessing and property interpreting that data can be quite challenging.

Evaluating and delivering preliminary data is a standard part of our reporting products and services.  If Preliminary data exists on a property we are performing a report on, we automatically include a Preliminary Map with your report.

We’ll interpret and explain the report findings to you, and be able to advise you on any pertinent next steps that could benefit your situation. We perform this same service with the effective FIRM results as well – all as part of our superior Flood Zone Determination Reporting.