The elevation certificate is an important administrative tool of the NFIP and an important risk management tool for property owners with buildings currently classified within the SFHA. It provides elevation, building type, flood map and additional information necessary to determine the proper flood insurance premium rates, to support a request to reclassify the flood zone designation, and to ensure compliance with community floodplain ordinances. The elevation certificate must be signed and sealed by a land surveyor, engineer or architect authorized by law. Surveyors licensed by the states in which the subject properties are located prepare most elevation certificates.

The data provided by an elevation certificate is critical to the process of properly rating a structure for coverage commensurate with the actual flood risk. FEMA has indicated that an alarmingly high percentage of elevation certificates used to rate NFIP flood policies have errors or omissions, which causes insurance brokers and carriers to inaccurately rate flood policies.

The top reasons why flood insurance premiums do not correspond with the actual level of risk lie in errors and omissions on the corresponding elevation certificate. As a result, property owners end up paying too much or too little for flood insurance and/or choose to forgo coverage when, in fact, they need it. Communities also pay the price by losing out on Community Rating System discounts, an NFIP program that gives credits to a community for being proactive in flood mitigation efforts. Further, insurance brokers and agents need reliable and accurate data to minimize errors that cause liability and policy mis-rating. An error and omission-free elevation certificate enables a broker to make competent recommendations and to write accurate flood policies.

Common elevation certificate mistakes include incorrect or conflicting building diagram number, street or subject property address, property description, flood map, flood zone and base flood elevation; deficient benchmark datum and conversion calculation and failure to indicate datum-converted building elevations.

AFSI’s team of flood and land professionals audit new and existing elevation certificates and coordinate a national network of licensed surveyors and engineers to facilitate error-free studies with accurate data, comprehensive images, notes and compliance with FEMA rules and regulations. Our quality control system ensures that documents are correct and complete, which allow property owners, brokers and communities to make sound decisions regarding flood coverage and mitigation efforts.

Is your elevation certificate free from errors and omissions? If not, you may be paying too much or not enough for flood coverage. Contact AFSI for an elevation certificate review or quote.