InsightsWeathering the Challenges of Flood Preparedness

As extreme weather patterns continue to beleaguer the United States, flooding is becoming an increasingly pervasive threat.

The onset of hurricane and monsoon season in the United States reminds property owners in certain areas of the country to be prepared for flooding. Lenders, servicers and homeowners must be diligent about staying informed of the evolving flood risk.

“Areas are rezoned on an ongoing basis,” says Mike Hanson, Senior Vice President of ServiceLink National Flood. “It’s important for lenders and insurance agents to understand the risks associated within their portfolios - and to partner with a company that understands the importance of providing timely and accurate flood information.”

The NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory confirms that flooding occurs in every U.S. state and territory. The most common and widespread of all weather-related natural disasters, flooding kills more people each year than tornadoes, hurricanes or lightning as well as causes potentially devastating property damage.

Through its Risk Map, Assessment and Planning (MAP) program, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has long provided states and communities with flood hazard and risk data. Basing its determinations on the estimated frequency of storms that are likely to cause flooding, FEMA uses more than a dozen classifications to indicate each area’s level of flood risk. For more information regarding the many changes that FEMA has made in recent years regarding the map revision progress, please visit In recent years, FEMA has made substantial improvements keeping up with continuously changing weather patterns, new construction and community changes while increasing the frequency of map updates.

Homeowners Lack Appropriate Insurance

Homeowners living in FEMA-confirmed Special Flood Hazard Areas or SFHAs tend to be underprepared for flooding. A report published in May by ValuePenguin revealed that only four out of 10 houses located in high-risk flood zones in the 100 largest U.S. cities have active flood insurance policies. Properties in these floodplains have a 26 percent chance of being flooded over the duration of their 30-year mortgage. If they’re not covered, they could face not only physical damage but also financial devastation.

“Although flood insurance is mandatory for homeowners in SFHAs in accordance with National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) regulations, homeowners may not be aware that their standard insurance policies do not cover flood damage,” says Natascha DeVries, Vice President of Account Management. “ServiceLink National Flood assists its clients by providing an aerial image, named CertMap, when the structure lies within a SFHA. CertMap is provided at no additional cost in an effort to enhance our customer’s experience. CertMap incorporates high resolution FEMA images, digital road layers and a full color aerial image and is helpful in illustrating why flood insurance is required. The feedback from our clients has been extremely positive and has resulted in fewer disputed determinations.”

How to Find the Right Partner

As the management of flood-related issues becomes increasingly complex, having the right partner—a flood specialist such as ServiceLink National Flood—is essential to successful navigation.

DeVries shares, “Our Flood team is equipped to help lenders and servicers manage the intricacies related to their flood portfolio, including monitoring FEMA notifications and declarations, and providing electronic updates to the flood portfolio. From flood zone determination (FZD) reports, recertifications and disputes, to life of loan tracking, we stand with our partners through every challenge. We know that conditions will continue to evolve quickly, and we are prepared with expertise, resources and tools to guide and support all our clients.”

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