Case Study


FEMA 50% Improvement Rule Avoided & Property Value Increased by $200K

Chattanooga, TN

Image of Commercial property for FEMA 50% Improvement Rule Avoided & Property Value Increased by $200K

$200,000 in Added Property Value

Solutions Found:

Flood Expert Survey


Solutions Value: $12,000 Year-Over-Year Savings | $200,000 in Added Property Value

NFE Solution: FES; LOMA

Discover how a Chattanooga, TN, hotel owner saved $12K per year on flood insurance, added $200K in property value and avoided FEMA's 50% improvement rule by working with National Flood Experts (NFE) after being referred to NFE by their insurance agent.

The owner of a Chattanooga, TN, hotel felt the strain of rising flood insurance premiums and was planning major renovations when FEMA's 50% Rule threatened to ruin their plans. The 50% Rule applies to structures where the lowest floor is below the 100-year flood elevation (i.e. the base flood elevation). Under the 50% Rule, if an improvement is "substantially damaged" or "substantially improved," it must be brought into compliance with the flood damage prevention regulations, including elevating the building to or above the 100-year flood elevation. Each community is responsible for defining "substantial damage" and "substantial improvement."

Their insurance broker, who had many past successful projects with NFE, contacted NFE to explore potential solutions for their client.

NFE gathered the relevant documents and performed the initial desktop review, which identified a high likelihood that the hotel would qualify for removal from the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) through a Letter of Map Amendment (LOMA). To fully confirm the solution, additional data was required. The client agreed to have NFE perform a Flood Expert Survey (FES) of the property.

The FES data confirmed that the building qualified for a LOMA. NFE's engineering team prepared the FEMA submission package, and the LOMA was approved just over one month after submission to FEMA!

With the LOMA in hand, the lender mandate for flood insurance was removed, resulting in $200,000 in increased property value and $12,000+ in annual flood insurance premiums. The most significant win for the client was no longer having the renovation plans restricted by FEMA's "50% Rule," and they were able to complete substantial renovations with much less permitting red tape.

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