The Revision of the flood maps for Edisto Beach and unincorporated areas of Colleton County near Edisto Beach in South Carolina establishes a new Base Flood Elevation (BFE) for almost all properties.

Is the BFE important in rating a flood policy?

Yes, a major part of the rating structure for a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood policy is based on the elevation difference between the lowest floor of a structure and the BFE. For example, a home built with a first floor 3 feet higher than the BFE  a positive 3 feet) will have a lower flood premium (about 75% less) than a home built at the BFE.

Will the change in BFE generate a refund on my flood policy?

Very possible. The BFE has been lowered by several feet in almost all areas. Thus a home now rated with a 1 foot positive elevation difference will be rated at a 5 to 6 foot elevation difference. The result is a lower premium.

My flood policy is rated with a negative 3 foot elevation. How will I be affected?

The new BFE will probably cause your home to now be rated with a positive elevation difference, resulting in a lower premium.

The rates on my policy are based on the information on my Flood Elevation Certificate from 2011. Will I need to obtain a new certificate in order for the new BFE to apply to my policy?

No. A new EC is not necessary.

Do I have to request my insurance company make the necessary change on my policy?

No. The insurance company should make the change in BFE at the next renewal date of your policy. And any return premium due you should be based on the December 21 effective date.  The NFIP Manual states “the refund for the premium difference … is prorated, using the date of the map revision as the endorsement effective date”.

Be sure to take a close look at your renewal to ensure changes have been made. Errors do occur!

Anything else policyholders should know?

Yes. Rates for elevation differences of a positive 4 feet or above are the same. Thus if your policy is now rated at a positive 4 foot (or higher) elevation, the change in the BFE will not create any change in the premium on your policy.


Henry Lowndes 
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