top of page

Broward County's Updated Flood Risk: Understanding The New FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps

July 11, 2024

As of July 31st, 2024, Broward County residents and property owners will be facing significant changes with the implementation of updated Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs) by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). These revisions, aimed at accurately reflecting current flood risks, bring both challenges and opportunities for individuals and communities across the region.

One of the most notable adjustments in the new FEMA FIRMs is the expansion of the Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), particularly impacting the city of Hollywood. Over 11,000 properties in Hollywood now fall within this high-risk zone, a designation that mandates compliance with stringent flood mitigation measures. Properties within the SFHA are subject to elevated base flood elevations (BFEs), necessitating construction practices that reduce flood risk and ensure structural resilience.

The inclusion of these properties within the SFHA signifies a shift in flood risk perception, compelling property owners to reassess their insurance coverage and building practices. Those with federally backed mortgages are now obligated to carry flood insurance, reflecting the federal government's proactive stance on mitigating financial risks associated with flooding.

In tandem with the expanded SFHA boundaries, the updated FEMA FIRMs introduce higher base flood elevations in certain areas. For new construction and buildings undergoing substantial improvements—defined as renovations exceeding 50% of the existing building value — this translates into elevated construction requirements. According to Florida Building Code, structures within the SFHA must be elevated to ensure the Finished Floor Elevation (FFE) is at least one foot above the BFE. This elevation standard aims to minimize flood damage and protect both property owners and the community at large from the devastating impacts of flooding events.

With the revised flood risk maps comes a renewed emphasis on understanding and securing adequate flood insurance coverage. The NFIP offers comprehensive resources to aid property owners in navigating their flood insurance policies. A key component of this effort is the NFIP's summary of coverage for commercial properties, which outlines crucial details such as coverage limits, exclusions, and the claims process.

Property owners are urged to review their insurance policies in light of the updated FIRMs to ensure they are adequately covered against flood-related losses. Given the dynamic nature of flood risk, proactive engagement with insurance providers can help mitigate potential financial hardships stemming from flood damage.

The implementation of updated FEMA FIRMs necessitates a collaborative response from local governments, community stakeholders, and property owners alike. Municipalities are encouraged to integrate the revised flood risk data into their urban planning and development strategies, promoting resilient and sustainable growth practices. Community outreach initiatives are also essential to educate residents on flood risk awareness, emergency preparedness, and mitigation measures that can safeguard lives and property during flood events.

As Broward County adapts to the new FEMA FIRMs, stakeholders across various sectors—real estate, insurance, construction, and local governance—must work together to navigate the evolving landscape of flood risk management. By embracing innovative flood mitigation technologies, fostering public-private partnerships, and enhancing community resilience efforts, Broward County can mitigate the potential impacts of future flooding events and ensure sustainable development for generations to come.

The updated FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps represent a proactive step towards enhancing community resilience and safeguarding property investments against the growing threat of flooding. Through informed decision-making and collaborative action, Broward County is poised to meet the challenges posed by these revised flood risk assessments, ultimately ensuring a safer and more resilient future for all residents.

To learn more about these changes, and to see the new requirements for your property, visit the FEMA Flood Map Service Center:

bottom of page