Agency Intelligence not artificial intelligence I remember the first time I heard those words as I tuned into the Agency Intelligence podcast in 2017. The host Jason Cass talked about transforming an industry, changing agent lives, and their families futures.

Many podcasts make promises all day long but never deliver on them. The moment Jason came on the air I could tell that this podcast was different. What I didn't know was how Jason would change my agency and life forever over the next two years. If you told me Jason would become one of my biggest supporters and friends in the insurance industry I probably would have laughed at you.

Why would this famous guy who had one of the first ever insurance podcast waste time with a small guy or agency like The Flood Insurance Guru?

Well thats exactly who Jason is.

If you asked me to think of one word that describes Jason about 1000 come to find but the first one that I think of is relationships.

Relationships mean so much to Jason whether it be the relationships he has with his family, his church, his mission work in Cuba or the insurance industry.

Fast forward to 2020 and I have now had the opportunity to be a guest twice on the Agency Intelligence podcast.

This podcast really helped get our name out there but that wasn't the goal of the podcast. It was more about helping people understand flood insurance. Before we realized it though we realized that we both had some mental illness struggles that we had overcome. Mine was a severe learning disability and Jason's is one that he talks about on his podcast. You definitely want to tune to hear his story on it. Maybe you have the same struggles or know someone who does.

So let's get to the good part and that is how Jason is changing lives across the country. Today I will tell you how he changed my life, and not just through the airways.

In 2018 I made this bold decision to walk away from doing your typical auto and home insurance to focus on flood insurance.

Most people said I was crazy. I even heard that from family and friends. Not Jason though he said you are on to something. You are going to look up in a few years and you are going to say how in the world did that happen?

He said but you have to stay focused you have to focus so much on this one thing that people can not ignore you.

This is when I started my content journey of video, podcast, and blogging. So it's kind of ironic that I am writing a blog about how Jason has impacted my life.

This two year journey has been the toughest journey of my career. There have been so many days where I felt defeated and ready to give up. So many of these days just so happen to be days that Jason would release a new podcast.

If you want to catch it it comes out on Tuesdays and Fridays.

It's almost like these podcasts were created just for me. It would be about the exact issue that I was facing. The podcast would help me refocus so much, where I could keep pushing forward. I remember getting a message from Jason earlier this week that said keep pushing forward. It meant so much to me. One reason is I didn't have many friends growing up and really didn't know what friendship was until college.

In 2019 I had the opportunity to meet Jason for the first time in New Orleans at a conference. I remember my legs being weak. 

What would I say to a man that has had such an impact on my life?

As I walked up and introduced myself I knew right away that when this man speaks you listen.

As this journey has continued in 2020 we have always brainstormed on how do we make that bigger impact?

Jason is always talking about catching whales but we all know it's easier than it looks. On this particular episode of the podcast Jason introduced his listeners to a man named David Carothers.

Harbor sign pointing toward landing in Provincetown, Massachusetts, for whale-watching tours

David is master at the commercial insurance game and he is someone else that has also changed my life forever. We will discuss him in another blog.

In 2018 if you told me that I would ignore premium and focus on revenue, I would tell you premium is how people get paid.

You see this is another way how Jason has helped me change my mind set. Jason has always been big on purpose and if anyone lives the purpose driven life it's Jason Cass. Everyone has a different purpose and you just have to find yours.

I truly believe Jason has found his by changing lives through the airwaves.

Ours is changing the world through flood education.

So when you are facing a giant wall make sure to surround yourself with great mentors like Jason Cass. You are going to need help climbing this wall and its people like this that can help guide you to the top. More importantly its people like this that can help you get up when you fall.

To end this blog I want to thank Jason for his support but most importantly for his friendship.

Thats Jason Cass and thats how he is transforming lives.

Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation

Growing up as a kid I had some cool experiences. My did was supposed to be an aerospace engineer until he had a chemistry lab accident in college. Like many of us he had to adjust his plans.

One of his first jobs out of college was building the NASA backpacks. We were all about NASA as kids. I remember watching the first night rocket launch in 1985 at Cape Canaveral. That booming sound and smell of fuel was incredible.


So many years ago when the NASA shuttle program was shut down I was pretty disappointed. On May 30 2020 that all changed after a 10 year absence from space we were finally back in space with the new SpaceX program. SpaceX is basically privatizing the space program now by being the first U.S. private company to send astronauts into space.

So If Space X can do it then why can't the National Flood Insurance Program.

Why can't the National Flood Insurance Program work with a company to completely privatize the flood insurance industry like NASA did.

Well there seem to be alot of reasons, so lets discuss a few

  1. Giving everyone access
  2. Accurate risk models
  3. Accurate Pricing

As of today the National Flood Insurance Program still does not recognize private flood insurance as continuous coverage. You might have had a private flood insurance policies for years but when you sign up with the National Flood Insurance Program for a policy its like you haven't had one.

Another one of the major issues that is occurring across the United States is giving everyone access to private flood insurance. Private flood insurance companies have the right to reject a risk based on their under writing. One of the things that is a common rejection is previous flood claims.

So how do you continue to provide coverage to these properties that continue to flood?

Maybe the question should be should these properties continue to get access to flood insurance as they continue to rebuild in special flood hazard areas?

I recently talked to a property owner who has filed 7 flood insurance claims in 5 years. They stated they have received more money in flood insurance claims than they paid for the property.

As you can imagine this can throw up a major stop sign for private flood insurance companies who are trying to make a profit.

Something that is starting to really advance are risk models. Private flood insurance companies are doing a really good job of using data and technology to get more accurate risk models.

While a National Flood Insurance Program policy is based on the flood zone it doesn't truly measure the flood risk for a property.

I hear from people everyday that are shocked that a private flood insurance rate is double what a National Flood Insurance Program policy is in a minimal risk zone also called a flood zone x.

One reason is the private flood insurance company can see what the real flood risk of a property is compared to what the flood zone maybe.

One of the last things is accurate pricing. Have you ever heard the saying once you give somebody something its really hard to take it back. Trust me my 5 year old daughter found YouTube on my phone and now she always wants to find games on my phone. It's a real battle with her on this everyday as we limit these types of devices.

The same goes for the National Flood Insurance Program and subsidized rate. Certain properties in the special flood hazard area qualify for subsidized rates. These basically means FEMA is covering part of the rate.

You have many people who have taken advantage of this through the years. Especially higher end homes in coastal areas like Mexico Beach Florida which was devastated by a hurricane a few years ago.

The National Flood Insurance Program continues to push forward and is scheduled to release a new update to the program called Risk Rating 2.0 in 2021. While this will benefit many people it still is not addressing the issue of privatizing the flood insurance industry.

So as Space X continues to make history with its privatization we can only hope that one day the flood insurance industry will do the same thing.

If you have questions about what your flood insurance options are then make sure to visit our website Flood Insurance Guru. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flooding.

Contact Us

Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation

I just got back from my first camping trip with my family. We recently decided to get a camper to make as many memories with our 4 year old daughter Lydia as possible.

I travel the country shooting our flood education videos and this was a way for them to come along.

My dad was an eagle scout but I only had the opportunity to go camping as a boy scout once when I was a child. I found it funny as a kid my dad was the only one wearing khakis and a dress shirt on the camping trip. Boy was he along way removed from his eagle scout days.

Geeky hipster holding an abacus against desk

Being a physicist he didn't do much with the outdoors as an adult. By the time I came along my grandparents were older and I didn't get the same experiences with the outdoors like my brothers did. I remember as kids they would go off to camp for a week. I looked forward to that but when it was my turn the camp had closed.

So as you can imagine this camping trip was filled with lots of learning experiences for me and my wife. If it wasn't for my experienced brother in law Jason it probably would have been an epic failure.

It was my first time sleeping in a camper, it was my first time learning how to manage the waste tanks. That was a learning experience.


It was even my first time using a bath house. 

Old barn and outhouse at Millbrook Village, at Delaware Water Gap National Recreational Area, New Jersey.

My wife said do you have shower shoes? 

I said what are shower shoes?

Confused. Portrait young man thinking daydreaming trying to remember something scratching head isolated white background. Negative emotion facial expressions feelings. Short term memory loss, failure

She said you can't walk in the bath house bare footed. Many times we don't know the answer to the question until it's time for the question. As you can imagine I had lots of questions when it came to camping.

Like many people who have a question I went to Youtube to get my camping questions answered.

Getting camping questions answered can be much easier than getting flood insurance questions answered sometimes.

So today's question has probably been asked 100 times to me over the years.

Can You Buy Flood Insurance During Hurricane Season?

So can you?

You can buy flood insurance during any season. You might be limited to what options are available. Let's look at the National Flood Insurance Program first. The National Flood Insurance Program generally does not limit you to when you can buy flood insurance. They do put a 30 day wait period on a policy being effective unless it is for a map change or loan closing.

So what about private flood insurance?

You can still buy private flood insurance during hurricane season, but they may have more limitations. Private flood insurance carriers will put moratoriums in place many times when there is a named storm in the Gulf or Atlantic ocean. Generally they will remove this moratorium once the storm has passed and any flooding has stopped.

It's important to remember that like the National Flood Insurance Program private flood also has a wait period. This wait period generally ranged from 5 to 15 days unless its for a loan closing.

Even though you may have a loan closing a moratorium could still stop you from getting flood insurance in place.

So its important that you understand what options are available, what the wait periods are, and that you can get flood insurance during hurricane season.

So if you have questions about getting flood insurance during hurricane season then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our YouTube channel or Facebook page where we do daily flood education videos.


Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation

I have spent the last 4 days camping with my family. My daughter is approaching her 5th birthday and she had the time of her life. While I was away it allowed me to reset a little bit. 101409834_10163441922635368_6499435779809345536_n

When I do this I like to sit back and think about things and even do a little bit of research.

As I am doing this I notice a lot kids riding bikes around without parents. I guess the parents assume they are in a campground so the kids are safe. I probably had two or three kids jump out in front of me when I was driving.

This got me thinking about hurricane seasons we had a few years ago. We went a good while without a major hurricane making landfall. When one did it it was bad. It very well could have been because we felt comfortable and let our guard down.

The upcoming hurricane season starts today June 1st.

It looks as though there will be a 3rd named storm this week which is a lot this early in the season.

In fact the last time it happened was 2017 when the United States saw some of its most devastating hurricanes in history.

Let's take a look at the 2017 hurricane season. That year there were 17 named storms, 10 of which were major hurricanes, and 6 major hurricanes.

Harvey hit Houston Texas becoming the most destructive hurricane in local history there.

So does 2020 spell disaster as well?

Maybe NOAA is predicted 13 to 19 named storms for 2020. 6 to 10 of these will be hurricanes and 3 are expected to be major hurricanes.


2017 Hurricane Season  # of named storms # of Hurricanes # of Major Hurricanes
  17 10 6
2020 Hurricane Season Prediction 13 to 19 6 to 10 3


It could you see just like 2017 the 2020 season has been active even before the season began as a result of the jet stream dipping down to the South. This is helping tropical systems develop much quicker. 2017 had its first storm develop in April which is extremely early. 2017 was also the first time in 12 years that a major hurricane made landfall in the United States.

Not having a major hurricane make landfall for 12 years can lead a lot of people to not adequately prepare. Like they say all wounds heal with time and sometimes we forget how abad that wound hurt.

Hopefully one thing that we can learn from the 2017 season is always being prepared and understand the threat of inland flooding hurricanes can create.

Having the right flood insurance in place is very important. Its also important to understand that everyone is at risk of flooding whether its a low, moderate, or high risk.

If you have further questions about hurricane season or how to obtain flood insurance make sure to click here.

You can also check out our YouTube channel where we do daily education videos or even listen to our podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we can help you understand your flood insurance, flood risks, and mitigating your property against flooding.


Contact Us

Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation

Hurricane season starts June 1st each year. NOAA has already predicted it to be a busy hurricane season. However we have already seen our 2nd named storm in the Atlantic and it's not even hurricane season yet.

Are you Ready? written on the road

FEMA is already strapped with the Covid 19 response and the recent flooding event in Midland Michigan.

So being prepared has never been more important.

Tropical storm Bertha caused flooding in Miami over memorial day weekend before moving up the coast and making landfall in South Carolina on Wednesday May 27th.

Thankfully it's a tropical storm so high winds are not that much of a concern. However with so many storms the concern is rainfall. This storm has already caused coastal flooding in South Carolina.

The storm is predicted to move up into North Carolina and Virginia. It's predicted to slow down and cause flooding in the Appalachian mountains.

So what can you do to prepare for the 2020 hurricane season?

Having your flood insurance in place before hurricane season is very important. Most people inland usually don't take hurricane season seriously. However as years past has shown us inland flooding from hurricane season is a major threat and might be a higher concern than some of the coastal flooding.

When these storms hit the coast they are still moving at a decent speed but once they move inland they tend to stall out dumping lots of rain.

As hurricane season approaches in the next couple of days its important to understand a few things about flood insurance.

  1. Wait period

  2. Payment options

Most flood insurance has a wait period unless its for a loan closing. Let's look at the National Flood Insurance Program first. This program will have a 30 day wait period which means if you start on June 1st it really would not go into effect until June 3oth.

Now lets look at some of the wait periods in the private flood insurance market. The average wait period for private flood insurance usually ranges from 10-15 days unless its for a loan closing.

There are a few options with no wait period but it is extremely rare.

Now that you have an idea of the wait period what about paying for the flood policy?

When it comes to the National Flood Insurance Program flood insurance has to be paid in full for the year. This is also generally the case with private flood insurance policies as well. Every once in a while you will find a policy that can do quarterly payments but it's pretty rare.

Now that you understand what the wait periods and payment options are it's time to make sure you are prepared for hurricane season.

If you want to see what your flood insurance options are then click here.

If you want to learn more about flood insurance then make sure to check out our YouTube channel where we daily flood education videos. You can also check out our podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation so we are here to help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flooding.


Contact Us

Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation

Insurance can be confusing no matter what product you are talking about. Flood insurance might be one of the most confusing insurance products to understand. First of all outside of coastal areas it is hard to find insurance agents that truly understand it or are familiar with yet.



So should you go to the captive insurance agent or the independent insurance agent?

Top View of Boot on the trail with the text Whats Your Next Step?

Let's talk about how they are a little bit different. First of all there is the captive insurance agent. These are insurance agents that generally work for one company and are controlled by the options they allow. Most captive insurance agencies generally only offer coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. It is important to know some companies have started to allow some private flood insurance options but are still limited.

Now let's look at the independent insurance agent. This agent many times is referred to as an insurance broker. They generally do not work for one company but instead represent the customer. As a result they can provide more options.

It's important just because someone can offer more options does not mean its the right option. There is not a wrong answer here. Its always best to pick knowledge over options. You want to know if a claim occurs that you are properly covered or if a non renewal situation occurs the agent will be able to walk you through the process.

Let's look at one scenario where your flood insurance rate keeps going up. We recently had a client that had their flood insurance increase from $8000 to $16,000 over the course of five years. The customer had their policy with a captive agency but the agent could not explain why it kept increasing. Come to find out the property was a vacation home for the customer so they were rated in a different table by FEMA than a primary residence would have been. This also had higher rate increases than a traditional flood insurance policies.

The agent explained to the customer that there was only one option for flood insurance and that was through the National Flood Insurance Program.

What the customer and agent did not realize was their was an entirely separate private market for flood insurance. Some of these options did not penalize for the property being a vacation home and they looked at ratings different. The particular carrier the customer went with was a savings of $10,000 a year.

Great right?

Well there was a clause in the policy that said if a claim occurred then the policy could be non renewed making it more difficult to obtain insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program.

As you can see there are alot of different things to understand in these situations.

Being the insurance agent with all the options may not be the best option if they don't have the knowledge.

So whether you decide to go with a captive insurance agent or an independent insurance agent for your flood insurance, make sure to pick one you trust, that has the knowledge, and knows how to adapt to the constant flood insurance changing market.

If you want to learn more about picking the right policy you can check out our daily flood education videos on our YouTube channel or even check out our podcast.

Remember we have an educational background in flood mitigation which means we can help you understand your flood risks, flood insurance, and mitigating your property against flooding.


Start My Flood Insurance Quote

Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation

Its 2020 and everyone is using google for everything. Google knows more about us than we know about ourselves.


I remember sitting in a college e-commerce class when google first came out. NO one took it seriously, I know I didn't or I would have bought stock in it.

So what does google have to do with flood insurance?

As we mentioned google probably has more data than any other service out there.

Private flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program use different resources for determining flood insurance rates.

One of the benefits of private flood insurance is the advancement in technology they use in determining flood insurance rates.

While the National Flood Insurance Program or FEMA looks at a parcel many times they can not tell if a structure is elevated or not. So you may have a structure that sits 50 feet high but FEMA still thinks it is in the special flood hazard area. This is one reason why elevation certificates are required so many times.

So what is the private flood insurance approach to this? Private flood insurance uses many tools when mapping a risk. One thing they look at to determine the rating for a risk is location. Generally google earth is used to help determine this rate.

Google earth can be a great tool when locating a property. However if you have multiple structures on a property it may try to show the wrong structure. Let's look at an example of where this might happen. Imagine you have a lake house on Smith Lake in the Cullman or Jasper Alabama or maybe Lay Lake in Shelby, or Lake Logan Martin in the Pell City area. If you live on the lake you probably have a boat house as most lake home owners do.

Color image of earth planet in space

This could cause a major impact on your flood insurance if you are not careful. As the photo below shows this boat house is much closer to the water than the main house.

Screen Shot 2020-05-15 at 1.40.32 PM

So as you can imagine you will probably pay more for private flood insurance based on location.

So what exactly can you do to make sure this is accurate?

When getting a private flood insurance quote from The Flood Insurance Guru or any insurance agent ask for a picture of the map for accuracy. What you want to look at is where the red pin drop is at. It needs to be located on the structure that you will be insuring.


We recently saw where it was a difference of almost $1200 a year for the property owner.

As you can see you could be overcharged for flood insurance without even realizing it. Imagine if this error occurred for multiple years that could be a lot of money out of your pocket.

So can you get some of this premium back?

Maybe or maybe not

It depends on the private flood insurance company that you are dealing with, generally it can be difficult to get flood insurance refunds on prior policies.

So maybe you think you are being over charged or want to verify that your flood insurance is accurate then make sure to click here for us to verify it for you.

You can also visit our website or YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.


Start My Flood Insurance Quote



Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation


I come from a pretty educated family. My dad was a physicist, my mom was a school teacher, my brother is an engineer, and all my siblings have at least a masters degree.

However it wasn't suppose to be that way for me. If you have read my other blogs then you know I grew up with a learning disability and college was not even suppose to be in the picture but because of two special educators and determination I was able to graduate top of my class for my masters degree.

However sometimes it feels that this education can hurt people in life. I remember when i was in college all of my college professors had no real work experience.


Books on desk in library at the elementary school

What I mean by this is they went straight into teaching and many from a book they wrote. For example I had this college professor who had written every book on management but had never managed a single person in his life.

This is one reason I have always said I would one day return to be a college professor and teach based on the experience I had gained in life.

Enough about that let's look at a recent article by that ranks the education across the state. This article ranked each county based on college experience and degrees. Overall the state fell about 9 points below the U.S. average.

There were three counties that ranked above the U.S. average which where Shelby, Madison, and Lee county.

I am sure no one is surprised by Lee county War Eagle!

However today we want to take a closer look at Shelby and Madison counties. These two counties represent a portion of the two largest cities in Alabama. Shelby county which is a part of the metro Birmingham area is home to some incredible schools like the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Madison which is near the NASA Rocket Center and the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

Something else these two areas have in common is they are some of the most flood prone areas in the state. It feels like since 2019 the Huntsville Alabama area has had a flood warning every other week. Then areas of Shelby county like Pelham and Alabaster have been threatened by flooding for years.

So knowing this you would think that these areas have a higher amount of active flood insurance policies?


Not exactly according to FEMA these areas do not even make up a combined 10% of the states active flood policies. In fact Shelby county is less than 1.6%.

Pretty crazy right?

When it comes to understanding flood awareness you need a little bit of book smart and common sense. Yes its a numbers game but its important to understand that everybody is at risk of flooding.

Common sense says if you are near a source of water you could flood.

I can't tell you how many people we talk to Alabama every week that say there is no way their property will ever flood.

Then there was the property owner in Centre Alabama that said if he knew his lake house was going to flood he would not have stored his wife's wedding dress there without coverage.

It's important to know if you have a college degree, a high school diploma, or not even a GED that every property is in a flood zone it's just a matter of how much water it takes to get to you.

So maybe you have more questions about how to protect your Birmingham or Huntsville Property from flooding? How to purchase flood insurance or if you have enough coverage. Then make sure to visit our website. You can also check out our daily flood education videos on YouTube.


Contact Us



Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation

It has been almost 5 wonderful years since my wife and I adopted our beautiful daughter Lydia. This kid sure loves life as you can see below.

lydia 1

I wish my mom had lived to see her be born. For many years my mom watched our struggles as we tried to have children and when the day came she wasn't here to see it.


As parents we all want what's best for our children. We want to get them on the best sports teams, we want them to have the best teacher, and we want them in the best schools. Most importantly we want them to be happy even if that means we aren't in the drivers seat.


I know this story probably better than anybody. Growing up with a learning disability I watched my parents fight for me to have the best schools and resources.

Recently we were looking for homes in a certain area where the city, county, and school each charge their own tax. It made living in this particular area very expensive but the schools were also very good. I also think this tax may have also kept the enrollment level at the school at a manageable area.

Human hands holding model of dream house

These are some of the challenges good school systems face. You have an influx of people who move to an area to get their kids into a certain school system. This exact thing is happening in Franklin Tennessee and Madison Alabama.

Challenges written on desert road

It's also the same thing that happened in Shelby county Alabama the last 20 years. Shelby county was one of the fastest growing counties in the country for a long time. Maybe it should not be any surprise that Pelham, Helena, and Alabaster all struggle with flood prone areas.

Some areas are trying to find a way to manage this growth.

Madison Alabama has even looked at charging a one time fee for buying home in a certain area to help slow down some of the growth.

As we mentioned before when you have great schools in an area you have a lot of people that want to move to that area and many times that means building new housing to support that.

It's not unusual to drive through parts of Madison Alabama and Franklin Tennessee and see 6 different builders with signs on a corner.

So are these school systems and our best intentions as parents causing flooding?

Detail of a modern academic building

As crazy as it seems this could be one of the major factors in the increase of flooding in some of these areas. In a natural setting 90% of rainfall is consumed by the soil. However when this area is developed 90% of that rainfall now becomes runoff.

It has been proven that land development is a leading factor in flood maps changing and the risk of flooding increasing.

So you may ask why is my area getting flooded more often or more flood warnings at least?

Well this massive growth in these school systems can lead to quick land development leaving limited space for the water to go.

So what can you do to protect yourself?

Well it takes FEMA a while to catch up on doing flood insurance study reports. I mean some flood maps across the country were just updated for the first time in 50 years.

Even if your property is listed in a minimal risk zone or a flood zone x it is recommended that you carry flood insurance.


Almost 30% of flooding occurs in these areas and even regular flooding. Just ask the residents of Nathans Estates in Muscle Shoals Alabama who found their homes under water in 2019.

Want to find out where to obtain coverage and what the best coverage is for you?

Click here

To find more information on flood insurance you can also visit our website. You can also check out our YouTube channel where we do daily flood education videos.


Contact Us

Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation

We are now into about week 4 of the stay at home order as part of the Coronavirus pandemic. Protecting our families is probably at the top of most of our minds right now. You are probably concerned about health and what the financial future holds.

Arizona sunset Saguaro cactus (binomial name Carnegiea gigantea) in silhouette in Saguaro National Park West, Tucson, Arizona, with copy space at left

We have all had to make changes in our lives especially those of us that have young children. I know I have a four year old that my wife is currently home schooling. My afternoons use to consist of grabbing a late lunch at a local eatery. However this week it was filled with reading classic fairy tales like Hansel and Gretel to Lydia, learning to make a fresh strawberry cobbler, and helping property owners get 2nd opinions on elevation certificates.

Fresh berries in close up on wooden table


Now that I have bored you with all these changes let's discuss the real reason why you are reading this blog and that is 2nd opinions on elevation certificates in Arizona.

When we hire a surveyor in Arizona we trust that they are giving us the right information about our Arizona Property. However remember everybody can be wrong and have a different opinion.

You have heard that all FEMA flood insurance rates in Arizona should be the same but many times agent knowledge leads to different rates. Just today we saw where an insurance agent had given a customer a grandfathered policy when the property did not qualify. It resulted in a $2000 rate increase for the customer.

The same thing goes for elevation certificates. Something we have seen the last few weeks in Bisbee Arizona is that one surveyor may describe a property differently than another surveyor. This could result in two things happening

  1. Different diagram numbers
  2. Different elevation numbers

One surveyor may say a Arizona property is elevated while another says it is on a slab. Remember surveyors are strictly responsible for the elevation numbers.

Diagram numbers being wrong is probably one of the most common mistakes on an elevation certificate.



So could the numbers be wrong?

Just this week we saw a significant difference in elevation numbers on elevation certificates done less than a month a part in Arizona.

These small errors on the elevation numbers resulted in a customer saving $1800 on their flood insurance.

So is a second opinion worth it?

As you can see in many situations it can be but it can also cost you more money. First of all if you are in a rural area of Arizona elevation certificates may cost more money. Most elevation certificates in Arizona can range from $500-$1000. You could try to get the first surveyor to make corrections like this property owner did in this situation. However this particular surveyor refused. I will tell you most of the time we have seen that most surveyors in Arizona are willing to make reasonable corrections.

So then which elevation certificate do you turn into FEMA?

We recommend turning in the more favorable one with documentation like photos that will support the diagram number and elevation numbers.

Maybe you want to see if there are any inaccuracies on your elevation certificate? Make sure to visit our website where we can review this for you and help you make any corrections with FEMA.


Chris Greene


Chris Greene

President of The Flood Insurance Guru
M.S. in Emergency Management with a focus in Flood Mitigation